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This Oregon Agricultural College hen has demonstrated the high egg-pro- 
ducing possibilities of the domestic hen by laying 303 eggs in 12 months, 512 
eggs in 24 months, and 679 eggs in 36 months. 



Professor of Poultry Husbandry at the 
Oregon Agricultural College 







All Eights Eeserved 

Main Lib 
Agric. Dt^t*. 

Printed in U. 5". ^. 


THERE need be no apologies for new poultry books. The 
industry is important, the poultry constituency large, and 
one poultry book representing the finding of one author 
would hardly be presumed to meet all demands. In these 
days of progress in the science, if it may be so called, of 
poultry husbandry, it is imperative that new compilations 
be made and new books published at frequent ' intervals, 
that the poultry keeper may receive the benefit of early 
knowledge of new discoveries. 

The remarkable development of poultry culture during 
the past two decades is one of the outstanding features of 
American agriculture. Twenty years ago the possibilities 
of poultry-keeping as an industry were scarcely dreamed 
of. While it does not yet receive the consideration it 
deserves far from it nevertheless it has made immense 
gains both in popular recognition and in production. This 
has been brought about by a better realization of the pro- 
ductive value of the hen. The idea of "fuss and feathers," 
long associated with the keeping of fowls, has gradually 
given way to the idea of a poultry industry whose first 
and only business, as an industry, is the production of 
eggs and meat. 

With the development of the industry, there has been a 
growing demand for information dealing with practical 
problems of production. The poultry producer has his 
full share of problems. It must be confessed that the 
available literature has been insufficient and fragmentary. 
This lack, however, is being rapidly filled, and, as a result, 
in all parts of the country, there are now examples of sue- 




cessf ul poultry farms ; not that the special poultry farm is 
by any means a true measure of the poultry industry, for 
the industry is, and probably always will be, largely a busi- 
ness for the general farmer, but that the success of special 
poultry-keeping is a measure of the advance that has been 
made in the solution of practical poultry problems. 

This book, therefore, has been prepared that it may add 
to the available poultry literature; not that it may sup- 
plant other books, nor that it should be the last word on 
the subject. The author is fully conscious of its imper- 
fections; but, to every student of poultry culture, and to 
every poultry farmer, he earnestly hopes that it may bring 
some helpful message. 

Corvallis, Oregon. 


Chapter Page 

I. Historical Aspect 1 

II. Evolution of Modern Fowl 11 

III. Modern Development of Industry 19 

IV. Classification of Breeds 24 

V. Origin and Description of Breeds 30 

VI. Principles of Poultry Breeding 61 

VII. Problem of Higher Fecundity 92 

VIII. Systems of Poultry Farming 138 

IX. Housing of Poultry 160 

X. Kind of House to Build 187 

XI. Fundamentals of Feeding 210 

XII. Common Poultry Foods 237 

XIII. Methods of Feeding 249 

XIV. Methods of Hatching Chickens 281 

XV. Artificial Brooding 320 

XVI. Marketing Eggs and Poultry 333 

XVII. Diseases and Parasites of Fowls 375 




Lady Macduff. The first 300-egg hen Frontispiece 

Jungle fowl cock (Gallus bankivus) 3 

Jungle fowl hen (Gallus bankivus) 4 

White Leghorn cockerel 31 

Black Minorca male 32 

Barred Plymouth Rock cockerel 39 

Barred Rock hen, showing fine barring 40 

White Wyandotte hen 42 

White Wyandotte cock 43 

Rhode Island Reds 44 

White Orpington hen 48 

Light Sussex 49 

Speckled Sussex 50 

Domesticated 51 

Faverolle hen 51 

Three breeds of different types winning in Australian laying 

competitions 53 

Good utility Barred Plymouth Rock cockerel 55 

Light Brahmas 56 

Buff Cochin hen 57 

Le Mans A special French meat breed 58 

Points of the fowl 59 

La Fleche 60 

Variation the opportunity of the breeder 64 

Result of crossing White Wyandotte and Black Minorca, 

showing barring 67 

Breed improvers. Pedigreed cockerels, from stock with rec- 
ords of over 200 eggs in a year 69 

Barred Plymouth Rock male. Son of a 218-egg hen . . . . 71 

A good type of breeder from 200-egg stock 72 

Barred Plymouth Rock male, Oregon Station 73 

Result of breeding for a fancy point 74 

Barred Rock and White Leghorn first cross, male . . . . . . 78 




Barred Rock and White Leghorn, first cross, female . . . . 78 
Barred Rock and White Leghorn first cross. Flock showing 

dominant white 79 

White Wyandotte-Black Minorca male, first cross, with white 

plumage and rose comb 80 

The recessive color barring 81 

Oregon Station hen C543. An exceptional layer though inbred 89 

Like begets like 92 

Like does not always beget like 93 

Oregon Station hen D18, 271 eggs in a year 93 

Barred Rock hen A78, record 212 eggs 94 

A good Plymouth Rock head with the stamp of vigor . . . . 95 

Barred Plymouth Rock hen, 65, 218 eggs 96 

Daughter of 65, laid 218 eggs. Granddaughter, laid 221 eggs 97 

A mother of high producers, A122 laid 259 eggs in a year . . 98 

A family of high producers, daughters of A122 99 

A77, 214 eggs. A producer of good layers 100 

Daughters of A77 101 

Granddaughters of A77 102 

A79, 219 eggs. A good layer and breeder of good layers. . . . 104 

Granddaughters of A79 105 

White Leghorn hen 034, 229 eggs in first year 107 

Daughters of 034 107 

Oregona White Leghorn hen. Record of more than 1,100 

eggs 108 

Hen B42 laid 834 eggs in four years 113 

Hen A60 laid 816 eggs in four years 113 

Belle of Jersey, 649 eggs in three years 116 

Queen Utana, 816 eggs in five years 116 

Rose-Comb Brown Leghorn hen, 442 eggs in two years. . . . 116 

Three Cornell long-distance layers 117 

Lady Macduff, taken day after she laid her 303d egg . . . . 117 

The 303d egg of Lady Macduff 117 

Lady Macduff and 10 daughters 118 

Pedigree of Lady Macduff 118 

Lady Macduff in full plumage in her second year 119 

Son of Lady Macduff 119 

Daughter of Lady Macduff 119 

Mother of Lady Maeduff 120 

Lady Showyou 121 

C543 at end of first 12 months' laying 122 



Oregon hen C543, 291 eggs 122 

Highest record hen at the Missouri 1913-14 competition . . . . 122 

The head indicating laying quality 123 

Breeder of poor layers, 20 eggs in a year 124 

White Leghorn hen, laid 1 egg in a year 124 

A good layer from poor laying stock 125 

Poor layers from good laying stock 125 

Barred Plymouth Rock hen laid 74 eggs in a year 126 

Another view of Oregona 126 

White Leghorn hen, 242 eggs in first year 126 

Hen E248, 302 eggs. Daughter of C516 127 

White Leghorn hen C516, 267 eggs in a year 127 

Two poor layers 128 

Utah Station Wyandottes 128 

New Zealand White Leghorns 129 

White Wyandottes averaged 208.5 eggs in Storrs contest . . 129 

White Leghorns averaged 208.8 eggs in Storrs Competition. . 130 
Winning pen in the Panama Pacific International Egg-laying 

Competition 130 

The long and the short way, in breeding for eggs 131 

Record of a flock of 43 fowls at the Oregon Station for two 

years 131 

Good fall and winter producers the best layers 132 

The first layers the best layers 133 

Inheritance of egg production 134, 135 

Egg organs of the hen 136 

Poultry keeping and dairying 139 

An Oregon fruit and poultry farm 141 

A California poultry and fruit farm 141 

1,000 pullets in prune orchard 142 

Eggs and peaches from the same ground 143 

Free range colony system at Petaluma, California, 145 

Petaluma farm of 120 acres and 6,000 hens .146 

Cleaning out the houses on a Petaluma farm 147 

Land unfit for cultivation is used 148 

2,000 hens on 3 acres 148 

Exclusive poultry farming on the intensive system 149 

4,000 hens on 4 acres 150 

The intensive plan 151 

Backyard egg farming 152 



A poultry yard may be made an attractive feature of the back- 
yard 153 

A backyard Louse in which 25 hens averaged 188 eggs, . . . . 154 

Another backyard system 155 

A plan for backyard poultry keeping 156 

The first and not the worst poultry house 163 

About the worst poultry house that was ever built 164 

An unsatisfactory poultry house 165 

A boy with a "safe" horse and "spring" wagon gathers the 

eggs 170 

A rear view of the Missouri house, showing ventilation . . . . 171 

The Missouri Poultry Station house 172 

The Oregon Station's first open front colony house 177 

The improved Oregon Station portable house 178 

The Oregon Station pullet-testing yards 179 

Special breeding yards, Oregon Station 180 

A colony house at the Utah Station 181 

A scratching shed is an advantage where the house room is 

limited 182 

A cheap shed for fowls 183 

Colony houses used on a Rhode Island poultry farm . . . .- 184 

Piano boxes utilized for hen houses 185 

Stationary 100-hen house. Oregon Station 188 

Curtain-front house 189 

The nests arranged under the dropping platform 197 

A good broody coop 198 

The Oregon Station trapnest 200 

Taking Lady Macduff from the trapnest when she laid her 

303d egg 201 

Portable fence 204 

Showing how fence may be constructed 205 

A balanced ration 219 

The relative amounts of ash, fat, protein and water in eggs. . 220 

Balanced ration for one hen for a year 226 

Digestive organs of the fowl 235 

Chickens threshing their own grain 238 

Oregon Station outdoor dry food hopper 255 

A good roaster 275 

Feeding battery for fattening 277 

Feeding Station 279 



Parts of a fresh egg 282 

The beginning of the end of incubation 284 

The young graduate 284 

Nests used for sitting hens 291 

The Oregon Station combination hatching and brooding coop 293 

A new brood coop 294 

Plan of hen brood coop 295 

Hen brooding at Oregon Station . . 296 

Brood coop made out of a shoe box 297 

Brooding coops on a Rhode Island farm 298 

Division of poultry labor at Petaluma 300 

Chicks loaded onto the wagon 301 

After traveling two miles the chicks were put into this brood- 
ing house 302 

Oregon Station incubator house 303 

Interior of Oregon Station incubator house 304 

A 150-egg incubator 305 

A 250-egg incubator . . . . 306 

Hot water jug brooder . . . . . . . . 325 

Continuous brooding system 326 

Room or stove brooding; a night scene 327 

A stove brooder with hover 328 

A stove brooder showing hover and different parts 329 

Room brooding, with oil or gas heater outside of room . . . . 330 

Flock of 8,000 young pullets 330 

Cornell gasoline brooder 331 

Terra cotta brooder 332 

A 12-dozen crate which may be used for shipping eggs . . . . 338 

A roaster in a parcel post package 339 

A parcel post package showing eggs wrapped . . 339 

The rural mail carrier takes the eggs from the farm . . . . 340 

Commercial egg candling 352 

A kerosene lamp set inside of a box makes a good tester. . . . 353 

Instead of a kerosene lamp, an electric light bulb may be used 354 

A fresh egg note small air space 355 

A stale egg note large air space 355 

Cans of frozen eggs 361 

Poultry demonstration car 367 

Unloading a Nebraska carload of poultry at San Francisco. . 3G8 

Dry picking, dry cooling, and dry-packed poultry 370 



Dressed capon 373 

An expert caponizer 373 

A bad case of roup 381 

Normal hen's ovary 387 

Diseased ovary 387 

Two white diarrhoea chicks 389 

Taking blood sample for white diarrhoea test 391 



Present races of fowls were domesticated, or reclaimed 
from the wild state, away back about the time that man was 
learning the rudiments of civilization. When man himself 
became "tame," he set about taming the wild things of the 
forest and the plain, in order that they might better supply 
his needs for food, for raiment, and for labor. "A bird in 
the hand is worth two in the bush, ' ' was undoubtedly the im- 
pelling motive that led to the domestication of the wild fowl. 
Savages were content to depend upon the hunt for their 
daily food supply. Centuries after the ancient peoples of 
Asia had domesticated the fowl, the Indians on this contin- 
ent had failed to domesticate the turkey, which is now the 
most highly prized bird for food, and possibly the most 
highly valued of any kind of animal food. 

Civilized man desired a more certain food supply, how- 
ever, than that of the hunt. To exercise his God-given 
dominion over the earth, man had to bring to his assistance 
plants and animals that hitherto existed only in the wild 
state. With domestication, came improvement in produc- 
tive qualities. The eggs of the wild fowl had no other use 
than reproduction. She laid a few eggs and hatched 
them. There was no demand for them for human food, or 
for use in arts and manufactures. The wild ancestor of our 
domestic hen laid probably a dozen or twenty eggs a year. 
The difference between that and eight or ten dozen repre- 
sents the achievement of centuries of poultry culture. 


The purpose of domestication was undoubtedly utility. 
There is no evidence to show that fowls were domesticated 
for any fancied or peculiar appearance. There were other 
birds that appealed more to the aesthetic. There were 
various species of the pheasant family, of gorgeous plumage 
and proud carriage all have remained practically in their 
natural state. If the ancients were looking for something 
to please the eye or the fancy, some of these would have 
suited their purpose better than the fowl. Our present 
breeds of fowls, however much some of them may be em- 
bellished with colors and shapes that appeal to our fancy 
and command our admiration, are without "pride of an- 
cestry/' so far as the original jungle fowl conformed to our 
present-day standard of beauty. But it is not surprising 
that after thousands of years of poultry keeping we have 
now some breeds that have been developed along fancy lines 

There might have been another object besides utility in 
domesticating the fowl. Semi-barbarous peoples of the 
Orient were, and still are, much addicted to the sport of 
cock-fighting, and the fighting qualities of the jungle fowl 
may have appealed to them more than any possible use they 
could make of the fowl as a source of food supply. 

The fact that there has been great improvement in meat 
and egg production, however, is pretty strong evidence that 
usefulness was the impelling motive in the domestication of 
fowls and in their breeding through all the centuries since 
they were weaned away from their natural state. 

Origin. It is generally agreed among naturalists that 
our present races of domestic fowls are descended from a 
wild jungle fowl of India. The Orient has given to the world 
the fowl as well as many of our domestic animals. There 
are four species of jungle fowls from which it is claimed by 
different authorities that domestic fowls were descended, 


namely, Gallus bankiva, G. Sonneratii, G. Stanleyii, G. 
Varius (or furcatus). While there has been much discus- 
sion and difference of opinion, it is generally conceded that 
the evidence points to the Gallus bankivus as the original 
progenitor. This species is a Bantam-sized fowl, patterned 
much after the Red Game of our day. The male Bankivus 
has the color and carriage of the Game. 

* ' Specimens of this fowl, ' ' says Mr. Dixon, ' * were brought 
from the island of Java and deposited in the museum of 
Paris. They inhabit the 
forests and borders of 
woods, and are exceed- 
ingly wild. On examin- 
ing the species, it will be 
found to exhibit many 
points of resemblance 
with our common barn- 
yard fowls of the 
smaller or middling size. 
The form and color are 
the same, the comb and 
wattles are smaller, and 
the hen so m u c-h r e - 
sembles the common hen that it is difficult to dis- 
tinguish it except by the less erect slant of the 
tail. The rise of the tail is much more apparent 
in the male, but it may be observed that in all wild species 
known, the tail does not rise so high above the level of the 
rump, nor is it so abundantly provided with covering 
feathers as in the common birds. Feathers which fall from 
the neck over the top of the back are, as in other fowls, long 
and with divided plumelets or braids, the feathers widening 
a little and being rounded. The colors of the plumage are 
exceedingly brilliant. The head, the neck, and all the long 

JUNGLE FOWL COCK (Gallus bankivus) 
Reproduced from Carnegie Institution. 
Publication No. 121, 1909, by Charles S. 


feathers of the back which hang over the rump are of a 
shining, flame-colored orange; the top of the back, the 
small and middle coverts of the wings are of a fine maroon 
purple ; the coverts of the wings are black, tinged with irri- 
descent green ; the quill feathers of the wings are russet red 
on the outer and black on the inner edges ; the breast, belly, 
thighs, and tail are black and tinged with irridescent green ; 
the comb, cheek, throat, and wattles are of a more or less vivid 

red; the legs and feet 
are grey and furnished 

Hk with strong spurs, the 

iris of the eye yellow. 

"The Bankiva hen is 
smaller than the cock; 
and her tail is also a 
little horizontal and 
vaulted ; she has a small 
comb, and the wattles 
are very short ; the space 
around the neck, as well 
as the throat, is naked; 
on this space are some 
small feathers, distinct 
from each other, 
through which the red skin can be seen; the breast and 
belly are light bay or fawn yellow, and on each feather is 
a small, clear ray along the side of the middle rib or 
stem ; the feathers of the base of the neck are long, with 
disunited braids, or plumelets, of a black color in the 
middle and fringed with ochre yellow; the back, the 
coverts, the wings, the rump and the tail are earthy 
grey marked with numerous black zigzags; the large 
feathers of the wing are ashy grey." 

The Bankivus inhabits northern India and is found in 

JUNGLE FOWL HEN (Callus bankivus) 

Reproduced from Carnegie Institution. 
Publication No. 121, 1909, by Charles B. 


the Himalayan mountains at an altitude of 4,000 feet ; high- 
er up other species of wild fowl are found. It also inhabits 
Burma, the Malay Peninsula and the Philippine Islands, 
and the Island of Java. 

The evidence in support of a common origin of all races 
of fowls comes largely from Darwin. While Darwin was 
inclined to a belief in a common origin and saw nothing im- 
possible in this theory, at the same time there are indications 
in his writings that he thought it barely possible that some 
varieties of fowls might have been descended from a dif- 
ferent species, now possibly extinct. On the other hand, 
some poultry fanciers took issue with Darwin and pro- 
claimed it impossible that all domestic fowls could have been 
descended from one parent source. 

Darwin based his conclusions largely on his own experi- 
ments, and while, as he himself confesses, the evidence may 
not be conclusive, it is the best evidence that we have, and 
we give here the substance of it. The evidence pointed to 
the Bankivus as the progenitor of all fowls, first, because 
it mated with the tame fowl and produced offspring, while 
the other species mentioned never or rarely crossed. Dar- 
win dwells with considerable detail on this fact as an argu- 
ment in favor of the Bankivus. Sometimes, however, dif- 
ferent species of animals will mate together and produce 
offspring, but the progeny called hybrids are barren or un- 
fertile. The mule is usually cited in illustration of this fact. 
He is the product of two distinct species of animals, the 
proof of which is the fact that he is barren. The horse and 
the ass therefore could not have had a common origin. 

Darwin, and later others, not only found that the Gallus 
bankivus freely mates with our domestic fowl, but that the 
offspring are fertile and breed successfully. These experi- 
ments strongly impressed Darwin with the belief that 
Gallus bankivus is the original progenitor of domestic fowls. 


Experiments along another line pointed in the same direc- 
tion. Students of heredity know that crossing and inter- 
crossing breeds and varieties cause reversion, or a breeding 
back to remote ancestors. "Why the likeness of some ancient 
ancestor through the act of crossing different breeds should 
suddenly reappear in the offspring after having apparently 
disappeared from the face of the earth centuries ago is one 
of the enigmas of breeding. Following up the clue of re- 
version, Darwin found what he claimed to be strong evi- 
dence pointing to the Gallus bankiva as the original ancestor 
of our fowls. He says that Game, Malay, Cochin, Bantam 
and Silkies, when crossed, revert to the Bankiva. In cross- 
ing the Black Spanish and White Silkie, he found that the 
offspring were all black, except one cock which resembled 
Gallus bankiva so strongly that he said : ' * It was a marvelous 
sight to compare this bird with Gallus bankiva and then with 
its father." 

He declared further that the color of the golden and silver 
Pencilled Hamburgs pointed to their ancient progenitors. 
"This may be in part explained by direct reversion to the 
parent form, the Bankiva hen, for this bird has all its upper 
plumage finely mottled. ' ' Remarkable, is it not, that after 
two or three thousand years of breeding away from the wild 
fowl, it is possible in crossing to trace in the color of plumage 
and shape and carriage of the offspring the descent of the 
wild fowl to our present modern breeds. And yet to scien- 
tists such as Darwin, mute testimony of this nature may be 
more conclusive than the written word. 

Darwin's findings in regard to the common origin of the 
domestic fowl may be summarized as follows: 

1. The domestic fowls mate freely with G. bankivck 

2. They mate very rarely with any other species. 

3. The Bankiva hybrids are fertile. 

4. The hybrids of other species are not fertile. 


He argued in favor of but one origin, namely G. bankiva. 

He explains in the following words how the changes in the 
fowl have come about, and how it is reasonable to believe 
that all the breeds have descended from one parent source : 

"... from the occasional appearance of abnormal 
characters, though at first only slight in degree; from the 
effects of the use and disuse of parts; possibly from the 
direct effects of changed climate and food ; from correlation 
of growth; from occasional reversions to old and long-lost 
characters ; from the crossing of breeds when more than one 
had once been formed; but, above all, from unconscious 
selection carried on during many generations. " 

While the views and conclusions of Darwin were generally 
those of all naturalists, there were others, including poul- 
try writers and fanciers, who took strong grounds against 
them. His conclusions were published in the year 1867. It 
is worthy of note that a gentleman from whom he got much 
of his poultry information, and whom he frequently quotes 
in his book, later (1885) took issue with his conclusions that 
all domestic fowls came from Gallus bankivus. This man 
was Mr. W. B. Tegetmeier, F.Z.S., a noted poultry author 
and authority in England, who was associated with Darwin 
in some of his experiments. Mr. Tegetmeier gives it as his 
opinion that the different species of wild Galli will inter- 
breed, and then he says: 

"But it is with regard to the Eastern Asiatic type of 
fowl (absurdly known as Cochins and Brahmas) that my 
doubts as to the descent from the G. ferrugineus (Bankivus) 
are strongest. "We have in the Cochin a fowl so different, 
from the ordinary domestic birds that when first introduced 
the most ridiculous legends were current respecting it. Put- 
ting these on one side, we have a bird with many structural 
peculiarities that could hardly have been induced by domes- 
tication. Thus, the long axis of the occipital foramen in 


the Cochin is perpendicular, in our old breeds horizontal, a 
difference that could never have been bred for, and which 
it is difficult to see could be correlative with any other 
change. The same may be said respecting the deep sulcus 
or groove up the center of the frontal bone. 

"The extraordinary diminution in the size of the flight 
feathers and that of the pectoral muscles could hardly have 
been the result of human selection and careful breeding, 
as the value of the birds as articles of food is considerably 
lessened by the absence of flesh on the breast. Nor is the 
extreme abundance of fluffy, soft body feathers a character 
likely to be desired in a fowl. The vastly increased size may 
have been a matter of selection, although, as the inhabitants 
of Shanghai feed their poultry but scantily, and, according 
to Mr. Fortune, mainly on paddy of unhusked rice, it is not 
easy to see how the size of the breed was obtained if, as is 
generally surmised, it arose from the little jungle fowl. 

"Taking all these facts into consideration, I am induced 
to believe that the birds of the Cochin type did not descend 
from the same species as our game fowl. ' ' 

Mr. Edward Brown expresses his opinion as follows: 

"To sum up, therefore, it may be taken that with the 
domestic fowl, as with many other natural forms of life, we 
can go so far back, but no further. The probability is that, as 
in the case of dogs, all the varieties of fowls do not owe their 
origin to any one species, at any rate of those now extant, 
and that we must look to another progenitor than the G. fer- 
rugineus for several of the later introduced races, more es- 
pecially those from China. " 

Such, briefly stated, is the argument, pro and con, as to the 
common origin of the domestic fowl. It may be enough for 
us to know that we have the chicken that lays the eggs and 
feeds the world. In the jungles of farther India a wild 
fowl is scratching and cackling to-day as its ancestors did 


three thousand years ago. It breeds pure without any stan- 
dard of excellence, and lays the same number of eggs as its 
ancestor did before the Christian era. It crows at the mid- 
night hour, but it shuns the society of man. It is pure-bred 
because it has the same characteristics as a thousand ances- 
tors have had. While it revels in the jungle and abhors the 
sight of man it has millions of relatives living useful lives, 
ministering to the wants of man, and on two continents pro- 
ducing yearly a billion dollars worth of poultry food-pro- 
ducts, just because away back three thousand years ago a 
few of its ancestors were caught and robbed of the freedom 
of the jungle. What a triumph domestication of the fowl 
has been ! What a mint of money it has coined since it gave 
up its freedom in the wild and became a part of civilization. 

Antiquity of Domestic Fowl. Let us now consider brief- 
ly the antiquity of the fowl. It is not possible to give dates ; 
it is not even possible to give the century when the fowl was 
domesticated. It is known from New Testiment scripture 
that cocks and hens existed two thousand years ago. There 
is no reference to them in the Old Testament ; but we find 
the egg spoken of by Job in these words : " Is there any taste 
in the white of an egg ? " As to the kind of egg we are left in 
doubt. That fowls were under domestication two thousand 
years ago there is no doubt ; that they existed several hun- 
dred years before that, there is authentic proof ; how much 
longer must remain largely a matter of conjecture. 

In tracing the antiquity of the hen, the following facts 
have been mentioned: When Peter denied the Savior the 
cock crowed thrice. That establishes the origin of the fowl 
before the Christian era. Mention is made of cock-fighting 
in the Codes of Mann, a thousand years or more before 
Christ. A Chinese encyclopedia, 1400 years B.C., mentions 
the fowl. In the religion of Zoroaster the cock figures as a 
sacred bird. Figures on Babylonian cylinders show that 


there must have been fowls in the seventh century B.C. 
Homer makes no mention of fowls, 900 B.C., but they are 
referred to in the writings of Theognis and Aristophanes 
about 500 B.C. The ancient Egyptian monuments are silent 
about the fowl, though flocks of tame geese are shown. 


By what process, then, has the small jungle fowl, pro- 
ducing little meat and few eggs, been converted into the 
Brahma and the Leghorn of great meat- and egg-producing 
qualities ? What brought about the change in the fowl that 
enables the poultryman of to-day to gather ten dozen eggs 
a year instead of one dozen or a dozen and a half, which was 
the order of the hen-day at the birth of chicken civilization ? 
By what miracle has the meat on the fowl's skeleton been 
multiplied six times ? Whence have come the various colors 
of feather, the top-knot, the feather legs, and tails 20 feet 

There has been abundant opportunity in some three thou- 
sand years for the type and characteristics of the jungle 
fowl to be largely lost in the evolution of newer and better 
races of fowls. If the modern horse is descended from an 
animal not much larger than a Jack rabbit, why not a Brah- 
ma from a Bantam-sized fowl ? We must disabuse our minds 
of the idea that poultry-keeping is a modern institution. 
It is idle to repeat that the fowl we see to-day on the farms 
and in the backyards are the product of the past fifty or 
even hundred years. It has taken hundreds or thousands 
of years to bring them to the stage of perfection that we now 
have them. Harrison Weir in ' * The Poultry Book' ' says on 
this point : ' ' Nearly all our modern methods are only the 
old ones re-substituted, even that of the incubator. In the 
olden time they kept fowls and bred chickens with a greater 
certainty and in better health than many of the now profes- 



sed poultrymen of the day." Columela two thousand years 
ago described the fowl, and less than a hundred years ago 
the description of the farm fowl of England corresponded 
in nearly every respect to those described by Columela. 

Darwin says that "not only careful breeding but actual 
selection was practiced during ancient periods and by bare- 
ly civilized races of men. " It is pointed out that in early 
times there were different breeds of fowls. Six or seven are 
mentioned as being kept by the Romans at the commence- 
ment of the Christian era. As proof that the work of selec- 
tion has not all been confined to civilized people, it is shown 
that the semi-barbarous people of the Philippine Islands 
about fifty years ago had no less than nine varieties of the 
game fowl. In the fifteenth century several breeds were 
known in Europe, and in China about the same period seven 
kinds were named. Finally, Darwin says: "Will it then be 
pretended that those persons who in ancient times and in 
semi-civilized countries took pains to keep breeds distinct, 
and who therefore valued them, would not occasionally have 
destroyed inferior birds and occasionally have preserved 
their best birds ? That is all that is required. ' ' 

The work of modern times has not been so much to main- 
tain the original purity of races as it has been to make new 
breeds and varieties by fusing pure ancient races, to what 
purpose will be discussed in a later chapter. Present-day 
poultry breeders and livestock breeders breed for unifor- 
mity. Their skill is exercised in producing uniformity in 
the stock. A standard of excellence is set up, and the nearer 
their fowls or animals approach that standard the greater 
value they have in the market for breeding purposes. The 
poultry shows demand a certain standard, and this calls 
for uniformity. But uniformity does not permit of im- 
provement or progress. It is clear that if two thousand 
years ago a standard of excellence corresponding to the type 


of jungle fowl had been set up, there would have been no 
such improvement in the breeds as we have to-day. The im- 
provement did not come from breeding to a standard of uni- 
formity. The improvement came about rather by variation. 

There can be no improvement without variation. In other 
words, if like always followed like, improvement would be 
impossible. "Like begets like" is not literally true, a fact 
for which some of us humans may have regrets ; but on the 
whole the human race has improved in many particulars 
since the days of our barbarous ancestors, largely because of 
this great law of heredity, the tendency to vary. The excep- 
tional individual appears in the flock an exceptional bird 
from average birds and this is called variation. A large 
bird from small parents may breed a strain or variety of 
large fowls. A small bird from large parents may breed 
a variety of small birds. All plants and animals vary, and 
it is in taking advantage of this factor that our fowls in two 
or three thousand years have been bred up to a higher util- 
ity ; or rather, it is one of the most potent factors. Fowls 
may be induced to vary in different ways. Changes in 
climatic conditions ; changes in food and care, and crossing 
of different breeds, all have an influence toward greater 
variation. Pedigree or ancestry is a valuable asset, but some- 
times the law of variation breaks into the preserve and 
takes captive this asset and gives us something more valu- 
able. The old law of breeding was that pedigree was every- 
thing, and if a phenomenal individual should appear, he 
would quickly disappear, his offspring would be reduced to 
the general average. The new Mendelian view is that the 
phenomenal individual may breed pure ; that he may defy 
his pedigree and ancestry and breed a superior race. 

Selection. Variation is effective through selection. 
Variation is responsible for the exceptional individual; 
selection is responsible for preserving it. Darwin says there 


are two kinds of selection, one he calls " unconscious, " the 
other "methodical." To the former he credits, in large 
part, the evolution of the fowl. The fancier who in spirit of 
rivalry tries to excel his neighbor by breeding from his best 
bird, without any attempt to establish a new breed or to 
preserve some new characteristic, or improve the breed, is 
practicing unconscious selection. There has always been a 
standard of excellence, written or unwritten, and fanciers 
or poultry breeders have been unconsciously following it 
throughout the centuries. Methodical selection, on the other 
hand, has to do with the making of breeds and the fixing of 
new and desirable characteristics. This pre-supposes a 
knowledge on the part of the breeder of the principles of 
breeding. According to Darwin, unconscious selection has 
done more for the improvement of fowls because it has been 
at work longer than methodical selection. 

The breeder who follows methodical selection is constant- 
ly on the lookout for new and valuable characteristics. He 
is not satisfied with following a standard of excellence ; he 
sets up a new and higher standard ; he believes in progress. 
While the man who is content to beat his neighbor in the show 
room and discards everything in his breeding pen that does 
not conform to the standard set up for prize-winners, the 
man who follows methodical selection would often achieve 
his highest purpose by breeding for characteristics or type 
that would have no standing in the show room. He is look- 
ing for ' i sports " or " mutants ' ' along certain lines and when 
they appear he makes them the basis of his breeding opera- 

"Whether the improvement or evolution of the fowl is due 
more to one or the other method of selection, it would have 
been clearly impossible to evolve the fowl as we now have 
it if, in the early centuries, an arbitrary standard had been 
set up and all breeding made to follow along that line. 


Causes of Variation. A more abundant food supply 
undoubtedly accounts for many of the differences between 
the wi]d fowl and the modern tame fowl. The wild fowl 
varies little. It breeds true century after century, but 
under domestication it rapidly evolves new characteristics. 
Egg production depends upon a steady supply of good food. 
This would not be secured in the wild state. The effect of 
domestication has been at once to increase fecundity. The 
wild fowl laid a dozen or possibly two dozen eggs in a year ; 
the tame fowl now lays ten times as many. A change of 
climate and a change of soil induce variation and increase 
vigor, and these have been potent factors, doubtless, in in- 
creased egg production. An abundant food supply operates 
in the same direction. Higher production came immediately 
into play when the fowl was put under conditions more con- 
genial to egg production. 

It is known that the wild pheasant under confinement 
produces twice the number of eggs that she produces in the 
wild state. Mr. Simpson of the Oregon State Game Farm 
gets an average of about sixty eggs a year from his China 
pheasants, and he has known them to lay a hundred, while 
in nature they lay but two sittings of about 13 eggs each. 
Another pheasant raiser is reported in United States Far- 
mers Bulletin 390 as stating that seven of his hens laid 131 
eggs and then stopped, but when he put them into a fresh 
pen they laid 174 more. 

A change therefore to congenial surroundings or environ- 
ment at once gives a decided increase in production. It 
would seem that a large part of the increased productive- 
ness is due not so much to selection but to improved en- 
vironment. If we are to accept the United States census 
figures of about 80 eggs a year as the average production 
of the hens of the United States, it is no more of an increase 
over the jungle fowl's production than might reasonably 
be expected from better environmental conditions. 


Effect of Food and Climate on Size and Meat Quali- 
ties. An abundant supply of food, changed soil, climate, 
and other conditions relating to environment, would not 
only increase production of eggs, but would tend to pro- 
duce variations in the size and meat qualities. Abnormal 
characteristics, sports or mutations, would frequently result. 
Ancient peoples (poultry-keepers in other centuries) had 
no interest in standards of uniformity, and they would 
preserve the peculiar or abnormal birds, and new types 
would be evolved. A sport might be produced weighing two 
or three times more than the common fowl, and it is easily 
understood that a fowl of that size would be carefully pre- 
served. The variations would extend to egg-laying. The 
poultry-keeper would find a fowl that was evidently a good 
layer ; she would be retained and her eggs would be hatched. 
This kind of selection, unconscious selection, works by cen- 
turies slowly but surely. 

The ancients were not influenced by prizes and high 
prices, but more by novelties, and it is easy to believe that 
the fowl of unusual or abnormal appearance was carefully 
preserved. So, too, it is reasonable to believe that a few 
out of many must have paid attention to productive qual- 
ities, and in some way if not by trapnests, by some other 
method picked out the best layers and bred from them. 
There is no record, so far as known, that fowls were kept to 
please the fancy and win prizes for fancy points, and if they 
were kept mainly or wholly for their economic qualities, 
selection must have been based on the idea of improving 
productive qualities. Whether we owe most to the Mutant 
"the occasional appearance of abnormal characters " or 
to the slow process of unconscious selection the survival 
of the fittest is a matter of speculation rather than fact. 

Use and Disuse of Parts. The use and disuse of parts 
has been a factor in the evolution of the fowl. How so? 


The blacksmith's arm is a striking object lesson of the effect 
of vigorous use of a part of the body. The poultryman 
knows that exercise hardens the muscles of the chicken, and 
when a tender article of chicken meat is desired, the fowls 
are fattened in crates or small pens in order to keep them 
from exercising. Whether the qualities of tenderness in the 
meat could become a fixed and transmissible characteristic 
may be open to debate ; but acquired characteristics some- 
times become hereditary. The horse was originally a pacer ; 
trotting is an acquired characteristic. Fowls were original- 
ly all sitters, but certain breeds through disuse of sitting or 
hatching have acquired the characteristic of non-sitting, 
and they breed true to that characteristic. 

It is known that the wing of the tame duck has diminished 
in weight in proportion to size of body and legs since domes- 
tication, the tame duck being a descendant of the common 
wild duck. The tame duck is much larger in limb and body 
than its wild ancestor, and it has little or no use for its wings. 
By use, the leg bones have increased in size, but by disuse 
the wing bones have rather decreased. Under domestication, 
the disproportion between strength of wing and ability to 
fly, has become so great that a duck of the Pekin type would 
make a spectacle of itself if on the wide-open prairie by the 
use of its wings it sought to elude the pursuit of the coyote. 

The same thing is true to a greater or less extent in breeds 
of chickens. The weight of wing bones is much less than 
those of the wild ancestor, the jungle fowl, in proportion 
to weight of leg bones. This is specially true of the heavier 
breeds, since the Cochin and Brahma, for instance, very 
seldom use their wings. 

Crossing. Probably the most fruitful source of varia- 
tion, and therefore evolution, is the crossing of different 
breeds or varieties. Before methodical selection was prac- 
ticed, little consideration would be given to keeping breeds 


and varieties separate; and crossing was no doubt freely 
resorted to. Crossing adds to size and vigor, produces varia- 
tions and abnormalities, restores lost or latent characteris- 
tics and increases fertility. Our present types and races 
of chickens were undoubtedly evolved in part from cross- 

Summary. It is known, therefore, that all breed im- 
provement is founded on variation. It is further known 
that variation may be induced by certain other conditions 
or factors. A change from one climate to another is a fruit- 
ful source of variation. This is true of plants as well as 
animals. A change of climate often gives increased vigor 
and fertility. Changes in climate and changes in food have 
undoubtedly had a great deal to do with the evolution of 
the fowl. Transplanted to a cold climate, we find the jungle 
type of three pounds has evolved into the twelve-pound fowl, 
because the fleshy fat fowl was better fitted to withstand 
the cold. On the contrary, the southern climates are not 
favorable to the heavy fowl, with heavy feathering and 
abundant fat, and as a consequence there was gradually 
evolved the Leghorn and fowls of that type. 

Again, abundant food that was assured with domestica- 
tion, undoubtedly exercised a potent influence in determin- 
ing the size and characteristics of the fowl. Plenty of food 
tends to increase the size ; scanty nutrition results in small 
races. Good food increases fecundity. 

Crossing, however, is probably the most powerful means 
of variation. Crossing different breeds or varieties opens 
the door to further improvement, and to other breeds. 


Poultry-keeping had its birth, as has been seen, when the 
wild fowl of the jungle chose to foresake the wild way and 
become the companion of men. The domestication of the 
fowl and the beginning of poultry-keeping has been of tre- 
mendous importance to mankind. Poultry and eggs are 
more highly prized than any other form of animal food. 
The domesticated fowls are now producing in the United 
States over $600,000,000 worth of eggs and poultry annual- 
ly, and the combined value of all poultry products of the 
different nations must reach a total of several billion dollars 
a year. Add to this the fact that the production and con- 
sumption of eggs and poultry are rapidly increasing, and 
a conception may be formed as to the magnitude of the fact 
of domestication. The development is not altogether a 
modern achievement. Men of modern times seem more 
concerned in exterminating wild game and animals than 
in preserving or domesticating them, and only the strong 
arm of the law has saved from utter annihilation many 
species of wild fowl. 

Great as have been the achievements in the poultry realm 
under domestication, only within comparatively recent 
times has keeping poultry come to be recognized as an in- 
dustry. Fifty years ago there was little or no poultry litera- 
ture. The first enduring poultry journal was published in 
1872 by H. H. Stoddard. Now poultry books are numbered 
by the score, and of poultry journals there are now half a 
hundred in the United States devoted exclusively to this 



industry, not to mention the mass of poultry literature pub- 
lished by the various farm journals as well as newspapers. 

The first reference to poultry in the publications of the 
Department of Agriculture, is in the Annual Report of the 
Patent Office for 1845. The first bulletin or entire publica- 
tion on this subject issued by the Department was Bulletin 
41 "Standard Varieties of Chickens." Up to July, 1911, 
41 publications devoted entirely to poultry, and containing 
1,696 pages, were published by the Department. The Maine 
Station Report for 1887 was probably the first to report 
poultry work. The New York Geneva Station, Bulletin 29, 
1891, was the first bulletin to report experiments with fowls. 

It was in 1880 that poultry-keeping assumed sufficient 
importance to be included in a census of farm products by 
the federal government. Now practically every agricultural 
college and experiment station either has an organized poul- 
try department or is giving instruction and conducting 
experiments with poultry in connection with other depart- 

Notwithstanding all this recent work in poultry husban- 
dry, history is strangely silent about the improvement of 
the hen or the development of the poultry industry, in 
which she is the most significant factor. Moving picture 
films came too late to tell her history. The word ' ' fowl ' ' or 
"cock" or "hen" is mentioned in books here and there 
throughout the centuries. As civilization advanced and 
books became more plentiful, more extended references are 
found, showing that the fowl was gradually coming into her 
own, becoming a factor of importance to civilized man. 

Though there is no written history of the poultry industry 
until recent times, yet throughout the centuries the hen has 
been the companion of man, developing new characteristics, 
changing the color and pattern of her dress, adding to or 
subtracting from her weight, improving her economic quali- 


ties all without a printing press, an experiment station, or 
a poultry show. The real history of the fowl preceded the 
poultry show and the poultry book. The improvement of the 
fowl was not all a matter of modern times. A century ago 
there existed all the sizes, large and small, that we have to- 
day, and if we are to believe some writers, economic qual- 
ities were as highly developed then as now. About seven 
hundred years ago eggs were so plentiful in Europe that 
they sold at the rate of 50 for one-quarter cent. At that 
time Charlemagne kept fowls on his "model" farms, and 
he himself prescribed methods of management of the fowls. 
The thirty-years war destroyed the poultry industry, as it 
did other industries; and there are those who maintain 
that at that time the secret of selecting the productive hen 
was lost and has never been recovered. Be that as it may, 
the care that was evidently given the fowls, and the cheap- 
ness of the eggs, might indicate that the fowls were very 

As an industry, the public is interested only in the econo- 
mic aspect of poultry-keeping. The great increase in pro- 
duction has already beei* noted. This increase is probably 
without a parallel in the history of food production. What 
factors have been responsible for this increase ? First, the 
increase must be ascribed largely to natural causes. With 
the increase in the percentage of the population that live in 
cities there has been a relatively greater consumption of eggs 
than of meat. There has been a greater call for a lighter 
diet than when the larger proportion of the population 
lived by toil or muscular labor. It can hardly be said that 
the increased price of meats has driven the people to eggs 
as a substitute, for the price of eggs twenty years ago was as 
low as 6 and 8 cents a dozen in different sections of the coun- 
try, and yet the consumption of eggs per capita was less 
than it is now. With greater riches and higher compensa- 


tion, the customers have turned more to eggs than to some 
other staple foods. 

Second, a better knowledge of the high nutritive quality 
of the egg and of the fact that it cannot be adulterated 
that it comes to the table in its original unbroken package, 
guaranteeing its purity has also contributed to its in- 
creased use. 

Third, cold storage, which is discussed in a later chapter, 
has also been a powerful factor in the increased use of eggs. 

All this, by opening up larger markets for poultry pro- 
ducts, has contributed to increased production, for without 
profitable markets no artificial stimulus could maintain in- 
creased production. 

Education. On the other hand, what may be called arti- 
ficial stimulus was necessary. The demand for eggs would 
not have been fully met had education or artificial means not 
been resorted to in order to stimulate production. Under 
this head may be mentioned the agricultural and poultry 
journals. These journals have constituted a medium for an 
exchange of views by producers. Experiences have been 
published and re-published, and they have shown that there 
is money in producing eggs. Successes have been chronicled, 
and this has been followed by explanations of methods. In 
this way a great educational campaign has been going 
on through the medium of the agricultural and poultry 

The poultry page of the farm paper chronicling the poul- 
try experience of successful farmers throughout the country, 
read by thousands of farmers weekly, has been a great force 
in directing attention to this industry and encouraging it 
among the farmers. It is doubtful if any other page of the 
farm paper has a larger circle of readers than the poultry 
page. The journals devoted exclusively to poultry, though 
they do not reach as large a constituency as the farm papers, 


have exercised great influence for better poultry. They 
have appealed more to the special poultry keeper than to the 
farmer, yet they have led iii the dissemination of information 
along special lines, and thousands of readers have been kept 
informed by the poultry papers as to the progress being 
made in the industry. "While making special appeals to the 
fancier or breeder of standard-bred poultry, these publica- 
tions have paid more or less attention to the productive side 
of the industry, and they show a growing tendency to em- 
phasize this. The general newspapers, both dailies and 
weeklies, are devoting an increasing amount of space to the 
campaign of poultry education. 

The poultry show has also been an important factor in 
this development. It has afforded an opportunity for a 
study of breeds and external characteristics, and created an 
interest in the industry ; this, too, in spite of the fact that 
the poultry show has been notoriously weighted down by 
standards of judging that in some respects handicap rather 
than encourage practical poultry breeding. 

Though coming into the field late, the experiment station 
and the agricultural college have been rendering valuable 
assistance through state and federal aid. The results of 
investigations during the past fifteen years have been of dis- 
tinct service to the industry ; so has the work of the college in 
the teaching of students, and in institute work or extension 
work. The demonstration trains, in which the railroads co- 
operated with the colleges, have been the most successful 
agency in getting the information directly to the people 
interested. Moving picture films, industrial poultry con- 
tests among the school children and laying contests, are other 
agencies that are helping in the work of poultry develop- 


Breeds and varieties of fowls will be discussed here brief- 
ly from a utility standpoint. Before the days of the poul- 
try shows and poultry books there were different races and 
breeds of fowls. There were the Mediterranean or 
Italian fowls, which were small of size, light feather- 
ing, active and nervous ; and there were the Asiatics which 
were large, fleshy, heavily feathered and slow. These 
characteristics had been fixed before the business of breed 
making by the modern fancier had begun. The original 
Cochin weight has not been set any higher, and the 
minimum weight of the Italians has not been reduced. 
It would be difficult to conceive of any reason why there 
should be heavier breeds than the Cochin or Brahma, or 
lighter ones than the Leghorn, and yet if prizes were of- 
fered in poultry shows, or other rewards given for the larg- 
est fowls, it is without question that there would in time be 
evolved breeds of fowls of much greater weight. 

From the jungle fowl, as we have seen, were evolved 
through the centuries the Asiatics of large size, and the 
Mediterraneans of small size. From these two pure races 
a hundred different breeds and varieties have arisen within 
less than a century. "The American Standard of Perfec- 
tion" recognizes 121 breeds and varieties ranging in size 
from 12 pounds, to about three pounds, not counting the 

Standard Classification. "The Standard of Perfection" 
classifies fowls according to external points of size, shape 
and color. It divides them into classes, breeds, and vari- 
eties. The class refers to the place of origin, the breed mainly 




to size and shape, and the variety to color within the breed. 
A full description of each breed and variety is given in an 
illustrated book called the "Standard of Perf ection. ' ' This 
gives all the various exhibition points which go to make up 
the perfect specimen from the standpoint of the "Stan- 


Class Breed Variety 

American Plymouth Rock ..Barred, white, buff, silver 

pencilled, partridge, and 

Wyandotte Silver, golden, white, buff, 

black, partridge, silver 
pencilled, and Columbian. 

Java Black and mottled. 

Dominique Rose comb. 

Rhode Island Red . Single comb and rose comb. 

Buckeye Pea comb. 

Asiatic Brahma Light and dark. 

Cochin Buff, partridge, white, and 


Langshan Black and white. 

Mediterranean . .Leghorn Single-comb brown, rose- 
comb brown, single-comb 
white rose-comb white, 
single-comb buff, r o s e- 
comb buff, single-comb 
black, and silver. 

Minorca Single-comb black, rose- 
comb black, and single- 
comb white. 

Spanish White-faced black. 

Blue Andalusian . 


English Dorking White, silver grey, and col- 

Redcap Rose comb. 

Orpington Single-comb buff, single- 
comb black, and single- 
comb white. 


Class Breed Variety 

Polish Polish White-crested black, bearded 

golden, bearded silver, 
bearded white, buff laced, 
non-bearded golden, non- 
bearded silver, and non- 
bearded white. 

Hamburg Hamburg Golden spangled, silver 

spangled, golden pencilled, 
silver* pencilled, white, and 

French Houdan Mottled. 

Crevecoeur Black. 

La Fleche Black. 

Game and Black-breasted* red, brown- 
Game Bantam . Game red, golden duckwing, sil- 
ver duckwing, birchen, red 
pyle, white, and black. 

Game Bantam .... Black-breasted red, browri- 
red, golden duckwing, sil- 
ver duckwing, birchen, red 
pyle, white, and black. 

Oriental Cornish Dark, white, and white-laced 


Sumatra Black. 

Malay Black-breasted red. 

Malay Bantam . . . Black-breasted red. 

Bantam Sebright Golden and silver. 

Rose comb White and black. 

Botted White. 

Brahma Light and dark. 

Cochin Buff, partridge, white, and 


Japanese Black-tailed, white and black. 

Polish Bearded white, buff-laced, 

and non-bearded. 

Miscellaneous . . . Silkie White. 

Sultan White. 

Frizzle Any color. 


Economic Qualities of Breeds. It is difficult to classify 
breeds and varieties of fowls by their utility or economic 
qualities. When it comes to practical qualities it should 
be understood that no hard and fast classification can be 
given, because so far as egg production is concerned there 
is no known type or shape of fowl that indicates laying 
qualities with any measure of certainty. It has been dem- 
onstrated that 'there is a wide range in productiveness of 
fowls. Individuals 'of the same breed vary from no eggs 
to as many as three hundred in a year. High egg-laying is 
not a fixed breed characteristic; there are good and poor 
layers in all breeds. It is a question of individuals rather 
than of breeds. 

And yet it may be conceded that high egg production is 
more often found in fowls- of small size and active nervous 
temperament than in larger, less active kinds. The ability 
to go in the horse is usually associated with high energy 
and spareness of flesh. The cow that does things in milk 
production is spare in flesh, small in bone, and nervous in 
disposition. The little Shetland pony, it is said, produces 
power cheaper than the Clydesdale or Percheron It seems 
to require less fuel or food in the small animal to produce 
a given result, whether the result be milk, eggs, speed or 
power, than in the large animal. As the size is increased 
the cost of maintenance is increased. The large fowl is 
not the most economical producer of eggs. Frequently 
the large fowl will lay more eggs than the small fowl. 

There is however, a relationship between size of fowl and 
egg-laying. But it cannot be said that high egg-laying is 
a fixed characteristic of any breed, or that there is any type 
that indicates with any certainty the laying qualities of 
the fowls when it comes to a question of selecting the good 
from the poor in any flock of any breed. 

The system of trapnesting has shown us how widely in- 


dividuals of the same breed and same type vary. There 
are "star-boarders" in every flock, birds that live on the 
thrift of others, possessing all the apparent external char- 
acteristics of their breed, but lacking the ability to lay. 
Whatever wonders modern breeders may have accomplished 
in the making of new breeds they have not given us a clear 
definition of egg type. So much has been accomplished 
by the fancier in the way of color breeding during the 
past fifty years that one is led to wonder what might have 
been performed if breeders had as persistently and intel- 
ligently bred for an egg type as they have for color types. 
Practical Utility Classification. All breeds and vari- 
eties of fowls may be grouped in four classes: 1, Egg 
Breeds. 2, Meat Breeds. 3, General Purpose Breeds. 4, 
Fancy Breeds. 

1. Egg Breeds. The most noteworthy characteristics 
of the egg breeds are : Small size, active and nervous tem- 
perament, early maturity, non-broodiness, good foraging 
habits, and sensitiveness to cold. The principal represen- 
tatives of the egg breeds are Leghorn, Minorca, Spanish, 
Andalusian and Hamburg. All except the Hamburg, be- 
long to the Mediterranean class. 

2. Meat breeds. Among the characteristics of the 
meat breeds may be mentioned large size, gentleness in dis- 
position, slowness in movement, poor foraging proclivities, 
as a rule poor laying qualities, late maturity and persistent 
broodiness. Brahmas, Cochins, and Langshans are the 
principal meat breeds. 

3. General-purpose breeds. These are of medium size, 
are good table fowls, fair layers, less active than the egg 
breeds, but more so than the meat breeds, and are good 
sitters and mothers. Plymouth Rocks, "Wyandottes, and 
Rhode Island Reds belong to this class. 

4. Fancy breeds. Bantams of various varieties ; Polish 


and Silkies come under this head, and are raised chiefly for 
some peculiarity of form or feather without regard to use- 
ful qualities. This class will be eliminated from further 

This classification, however, is an arbitrary one. Some 
breeders may object to the place given some of the breeds. 
It may, for instance, be claimed that the Langshan is as 
much a general purpose breed as the Orpington, and it may 
be that the Orpington is a better meat breed than the 
Langshan. The Orpington has a slightly greater weight than 
the Langshan, and if weight alone were to be considered 
these two breeds might exchange places. In making the 
classification, account is taken of the fact that the Lang- 
shan is largely, if not wholly, of Asiatic origin, while in 
the making of the Orpington several egg breeds were used. 
Again, placing the Orpington in the general purpose class 
does not mean that its meat qualities are not equal or 
superior to some of those in the meat class. The Dorking 
also, might fairly be placed among the table breeds because 
its table qualities have probably been more highly de- 
veloped than its laying qualities, but on account of its 
medium size and its wide reputation as a general-purpose 
fowl it has been placed in the general-purpose class. 

The classification includes only those breeds and varieties 
that have been admitted to the "American Standard of 
Perfection." There are many European breeds that are 
not illustrated in or recognized by the "American Stan- 
dard.' Some of them are of considerable economic value. 



The Leghorn. The poultry industry owes a great deal 
to the Leghorn fowl. It is not a made breed, as breeds 
are made to-day ; it was ' ' ready-made. ' ' "Where the breed 
originated nobody knows. It is not the product of scien- 
tific breeding, but rather its type and characteristics have 
been developed through the centuries by the slow process 
of natural or unconscious selection. Nature early decreed 
that the high producer, whether the product be eggs or 
milk or speed, must be small in body, spare in flesh, and 
full of nervous energy. Nature did the work in the case 
of the Leghorn. "While the Leghorn is a ready-made breed, 
our modern breeders have by careful selection given it 
greater uniformity, especially in color of plumage, ear lobe, 
etc. The development of different varieties has been the 
work of modern fanciers. Later and more productive 
strains have been developed, but the Leghorn of to-day is 
largely the Leghorn in type and characteristics of a century 
or two ago. Of all breeds of fowls, few have the apparent 
lasting qualities of the Leghorn. While the Leghorn is a 
large class at all poultry shows, and has therefore been 
bred along fancy lines, it has also been bred for special 
egg-laying qualities. The White Leghorn has the distinc- 
tion of being found on special poultry farms more than 
any other breed. 

ORIGIN.- The Leghorn is sometimes spoken of! as an 
American breed. It received its name in the United States, 




but the fowl came from Italy and derived its name from 
the city of Leghorn, Italy. In Italy and other European 
countries it goes under the name of Italian fowl. As a 
fancier's fowl it may fairly be said to be an American pro- 
duction, its finer exhibition points being put on by Ameri- 
can breeders; but its general breed characteristics were 
developed in the Mediterranean country before the fancier 
himself was developed in America. In Italy not so much 
attention has been given 
to color, Alfredo Vi- 
tale, of Naples, in a 
letter to the writer, ex- 
presses the opinion that 
the blacks are the most 
productive strain. It is 
claimed that the Black- 
Red Game was crossed 
with the Brown Leg- 
horn to improve the 
color of plumage, also 
that the Buff Cochin 
blood was used to se- 
cure the proper buff color in the Buffs. 

There is little difference in laying in different varieties of 
Leghorns. A mixture of Cochin blood in the Buffs and 
Game blood in the Browns may have had an influence to- 
ward lower egg yield, but it would hardly seem probable 
that the effect of that infusion of blood from less pro- 
ductive breeds would still remain. It was ill-advised, how- 
ever, to jeopardize well-known laying qualities by crossing 
with meat breeds because of a color demand. 

The Minorca. Among the egg breeds, next to the Leg- 
horn, the Minorca ranks in popularity. Like the Leghorn, 
its type was fixed long ago. It is larger in size than the 

Exhibition type. 



Leghorn and has light colored skin and dark shanks. Its 
strong point is that it lays a large white egg. No other 
breed of fowls lays an egg as large and attractive as the 
Minorca. In markets where the white egg is preferred 
Minorca eggs should command the highest price. The Leg- 
horn excells the Minorca in number of eggs, but it may be 

possible to secure a 
price for the Minorca 
eggs so much higher as 
to make the product of 
the latter equal that of 
the former in value. 
Minorca eggs frequently 
weigh as much as 28 
ounces a dozen, and a 
good average would be 
26 ounces. Large size 
of egg is characteristic 
of the Spanish breeds. 
Under proper condi- 
tions, the Minorca is an 
excellent breed to keep. 
In the southern or 

warmer sections of the country it thrives, but its excessively 
large comb and wattles make it hardly desirable for the cold 
sections. "With proper shelter, however, it will do well. The 
Minorca derives its name from the Island of Minorca off 
the east coast of Spain. There are two varieties, Black 
and "White. ''The Standard" subdivides the Blacks into 
single and rose comb varieties. The characteristics of 
white skin and dark shanks depreciate their value somewhat 
in American markets. 

The Ancona. During the past few years the Anconas 
have been receiving considerable attention. They have 



mottled white and black plumage. This fowl is undoubt- 
edly of Italian origin, and outside of the distinguishing 
feature of color it is pretty much a Leghorn in type and 
characteristics. Compared with the Leghorn it is com- 
paratively rare; in this country, and its egg-producing 
qualities have not been so well demonstrated. 

The Hamburg. "The American Standard of Perfec- 
tion" classes the Hamburg as a Dutch breed, while Edward 
Brown classes it among the British races of fowls. There 
are six varieties, namely, Golden and Silver Spangled, 
Golden and Silver Pencilled, White and Black. The Ham- 
burgs all have rose combs. They lay a rather small egg, 
though the Blacks, owing probably to an infusion of 
Spanish blood, lay a fair size egg. 

The Blue Andalusian. This is another of the Spanish 
egg breeds. The fowls have a considerable popularity as 
egg layers, and lay an egg of fair size. A peculiarity of 
this breed is that though blue is the recognized color the 
mating of two blues together produces offspring that are 
either black or splashed white. In mating the blacks and 
whites together usually blue offspring results. 

The Black Spanish. This was a very popular breed 
thirty years ago. The fowls were splendid layers of a 
large white egg, but are now very seldom found in any 
section of the country. The breed has fallen the victim of 
a too general tendency for fanciers to accentuate in their 
breeding special points or peculiarities. In this case the 
peculiarity was the long white face; breeders engaged in 
a rivalry to increase its length. This was encouraged by 
the " Standard " which says of the white face: "The 
greater the extent of surface the better. " The Black 
Spanish is of the same family as the Minorca. 

The Campine. This is the most popular egg breed in 
Belgium. "We give a description of two Belgium breeds 


for the reason that in that country, as might be expected 
from the character of the people, fancy characteristics have 
been given slight consideration in the breeding of fowls. 
The frugality and thrift of the Belgian peasants would 
lead one to expect that they would exercise great care in the 
selection of breeding fowls, and the chances are that these 
very characteristics make them more skillful in selecting the 
best for breeding. This breed is of great antiquity, and as 
the Belgians believe strongly in the egg basket the seeking 
after abnormalities or fancy points was not permitted to 
deter them from their pursuit of the egg-layer. It is a non- 
sitting breed, an excellent layer of white eggs of good size. 
In size it is about the same as the Leghorn ; it has dark slate 
blue legs and feet. There are two varieties, the Gold and 

The Braekel. This is another breed that has been bred 
a long time in certain districts of Belgium. Its origin is 
probably the same as that of the Campine and any differ- 
ences now in size and characteristics are probably due to 
differences in environment. It is larger than the Campine, 
females weighing from 4 to 6 pounds, and males 5 to 7 
pounds. It is very precocious. One writer says: "The 
chicken is no sooner out of the shell than its comb is de- 
veloped; at three weeks the cockerels commence to crow; 
at six weeks they begin to drive about the hens." The 
Braekel, it is stated, is as much developed at six weeks as 
some other breeds at about six months. 

The Houdan. In France more attention has been given 
to developing meat qualities in fowls than laying qualities. 
In this line the French poultry keepers are particularly 
apt. Much may be learned from the poultry raisers of 
France in the production of a fine quality of table meat. 
Mr. Edward Brown in his classification of fowls places only 
one French breed the Houdan among the egg breeds. 


Even the Houdan may properly belong to the general pur- 
pose class on account of its weight and meat qualities. The 
weight of the adult female is 6 pounds. The crest is more 
ornamental than useful and this peculiarity' has undoubt- 
edly had a great deal to do with the lack of appreciation 
shown for it among utility poultry-keepers. It lays a white 
egg, the color of legs is pinky-white, mottled with black. 


American breed makers have run altogether to the gen- 
eral purpose type of fowl. In the American class we have 
the Plymouth Rock, the Wyandotte, Java, Dominique, 
Rhode Island Red, Buckeye, all of medium size and of 
general purpose characteristics. Out of those six breeds 
twenty varieties have been made, there being of the Wyan- 
dotte alone eight different varieties, the differences in 
varieties being wholly in color. It is true that American 
breeders have "made over" other breeds that have come 
from foreign countries until some of them would scarcely 
be recognized as of the same breed, but the work has been 
chiefly confined to fixing external points of color, not in 
altering type. 

The general-purpose fowl is a modern innovation. Be- 
fore the days of the modern breeder there were practically 
but two types of fowls the large, slow, fleshy Asiatic, and 
the small egg-laying Italian. The modern breeder has con- 
cerned himself not so much in improving these two types 
as in making various combinations of them. Our American 
breeds are therefore the result of crossing the two pure 
races mentioned. The poultry industry has doubtless 
gained from the making of these varieties. A question 
naturally arises as to whether it would not have been better 
if the breeders had confined themselves to improving exist- 


ing breeds or races and keeping them pure rather than mix- 
ing them and making new breeds. 

If it be true that crossing improves the vigor and fer- 
tility of the offspring and saves races from annihilation, it 
may readily be conceded that the amalgamation of the two 
races for the purpose of making new breeds has been al- 
together an advantage. If it be denied that the crossing of 
pure races can ever be beneficial we will have to confess 
that our American breeds and varieties are without excuse 
of origin. It is certain that the Italian or Leghorn has not 
been replaced by a better laying breed, nor has there been 
produced a breed superior to the Cochin and Brahma as 
meat breeds. In American breeds the excessive weight of 
the Cochin and Brahma has been avoided and the prefer- 
ence of the largest proportion of consumers for a medium 
size table fowl has influenced American breeders in the 
making of new breeds, to the undoubted advantage of the 
industry as a whole. 

When we speak of a general-purpose breed reference is 
made to meat and egg-laying qualities. In other words, a 
general-purpose fowl is a fair layer and a fair table fowl, 
and that idea has been kept in mind by the originators of 
the Plymouth Rock and other breeds of that type. They 
wisely eliminate feathers on legs, which are objectionable 
in a utility fowl. They also eliminated some of the natural 
wildness of the Leghorn. Breeders have been somewhat 
hampered by the demands of the show which required them 
to select for various other points, and for this reason our 
Plymouth Rock and other general-purpose breeds have not 
been bred up to that perfection of flesh that has been at- 
tained in some of the French and in some of the English 
breeds. Undoubtedly the craze for fine barring in the 
Barred Plymouth Rock has engaged the attention of many 
breeders to the exclusion of points demanded in a good 


table fowl. As a result there is more uniformity in the 
barring, for example, than in the proportion of edible meat 
to bone in the Plymouth Rock. As a rule the Plymouth 
Rock is too heavily boned for a fine table fowl. 

Another objection to the Plymouth Rock and other gen- 
eral-purpose breed may be urged; the "Standard" weight 
is larger than is demanded by the great body of consumers. 
The general-purpose fowl should fill a general purpose 
demand. ' ' The Standard ' ' weight for the Plymouth Rock is 
9~y 2 pounds for the cock and iy 2 for the hen. If the judge 
must not cut for over-size they are placed practically in 
the Asiatic class so far as size is concerned. And as the 
size is increased the breed is getting that much away from 
the general purpose type. Increasing the size does not 
necessarily mean better meat qualities. 

A fowl that exceeds 7 or 8 pounds in weight borders too 
closely on the Asiatic or meat type for a general-purpose 
fowl. When it reaches 8 or 10 pounds it gets into a special 
class and there must be a special market for it. The de- 
mand is limited for the large meat type of fowl, and if the 
poultry raiser is to meet the requirements of the largest 
body of consumers he must breed a fowl of medium size. 
It would be an economic mistake to advocate a large fowl 
of Asiatic type for the general farmer, because if all were 
to adopt that type it would mean one of two things: The 
cutting of the consumption of poultry in two, or cutting 
the price in half. There is a greater demand for a fowl 
weighing 4 to 5 pounds dressed than for one of any other 
size. The problem then for the breeders of a general-pur- 
pose fowl is to adhere to a type that will meet the largest 
consuming demand, and then develop laying qualities on 
that basis. 

Again, breeders of the Plymouth Rock might render a 
real service if they should eliminate the tendency of the 


Plymouth Rock to put on excessive abdominal fat. How- 
ever, this result will largely be secured in breeding for 
eggs. It will be found that this characteristic is usually 
absent in the heavy producer. 

In our American breeds many of the Asiatic character- 
istics are retained. In some respects American ideals differ 
from European. We get the brown egg from the Asiatics, 
but this is one of the accidents of choice, for American 
markets generally prefer the white egg shell. On the other 
hand we get the yellow leg and skin from the same source, 
the color preferred in the markets. In England and other 
European countries, the white skin, it is believed, indicates 
superior excellence of meat, but with this white flesh they 
get something they don't want a white egg. Here are 
apparently antagonistic characteristics, a white egg and a 
yellow skin in general purpose breeds. Whether it is 
possible to overcome this barrier of nature remains to be 

Speaking of American breeds, Edward Brown pays a 
high compliment and at the same time extends a warning 
to American breeders in the following language: "'That 
these breeds have proved most valuable additions to our 
stock is unquestionable, and their wide distribution and 
universal recognition is a great tribute to American breed- 
ers, who have kept prominently forward the general 
economic qualities and not exaggerated special points to the 
extent met with in Great Britain. Whether that will be 
so in the future remains to be seen, for present signs are in 
the direction of an exaltation of fancy points, which would 
be regrettable." 

If we are to judge from the success of one English 
breeder in American laying competitions, the warning has 
been better heeded in England than in America. 



The Plymouth Rocks. There are five varieties of Ply- 
mouth Rocks recognized by the "American Standard of 
Perfection"; namely, the Barred, "White, Buff, Partridge, 
and Columbian. 

The Barred Plymouth Rock is the great American farm 
fowl. Its popularity among farmers exceeds that of any 
other one breed. The 
White Eock, the Wyan- 
dotte and the Rhode 
Island Red may be of 
equal utility value, but 
the Barred Rock has 
been lo-^er established, 
is more widely known, 
and its qualities of meat 
and egg production, and 
possibly its color, have 
given it a place second 
to none. The Barred 
Plymouth Rock was 
about the first American 
production in the poul- 
try world, and on this 
account it no doubt se- 
cured a popularity that 
later productions did 
not. To the fancier fine barring in the Plymouth Rock rep- 
resents the highest achievement in breeding. When asso- 
ciated with this is good shape and carriage, the Barred 
Plymouth Rock is a most attractive fowl. 

As to the origin of the Plymouth Rock, several Asiatic 
and Mediterranean breeds are represented among its an- 
cestors. It is believed that the first or original cross was 
a mating of Dominique male and Black Java or Black 


First prize at Los Angeles show. 



Cochin hen. The Minorca, Cochin and Brahma are all 
believed to have been used in making the breed. Mr. D. A. 
Upham and Mr. Joseph Spaulding, both of Connecticut, 
claim the honor of originating the Barred Rock. The 
former exhibited the first specimens in 1869. Close breed- 
ing for fine barring has injured some strains of the breed, 
but its wide dissemination has averted ruin. A peculiarity 

of the Barred Rock color 
is that the male off- 
spring are lighter than 
the female. The ten- 
dency is for the cock- 
erels to be lighter than 
the parents, and the 
pullets darker. The 
''Standard" says that 
show specimens must 
have the same shade of 
color, male and female, 
and this has led fan- 
ciers to follow in breed- 
ing what is called 
double mating. 

Double mating means 
the use of two sepa- 
rate matings, or two 
separate pens of fowls, one to produce males of proper 
exhibition color,, (the other females. The pen producing 
the cockerels is darker in color than the pen producing 
the pullets. 

The White Plymouth Rocks. There is no difference in 
the shape and size of the different varieties of Plymouth 
Rocks. The difference is in color only. The White came 
as a sport, or what might be called a " mutant " from the 


Showing fine barring. (Courtesy of 
Miller Purvis.) 


Barred variety about 1880. The White is fully the equal 
of the Barred in economic qualities. It has not been sub- 
jected to the same degree' of intense inbreeding as many 
strains of the Barred Rock have been for barring, and on 
that account there may be excuse for the claim that it has 
better maintained its original utility value. However, 
there are strains of the Barred variety that by good 
breeding have preserved their utility value to a high 

The Buff Plymouth Rock. This variety of Eock is an 
independent creation. It is not related to the Barred or 
White varieties, but breeders have so moulded it and shaped 
it that in size and type and general external characteristics 
it is a duplicate of the others. The Buff Leghorn, Buff 
Cochin and Light Brahma were used in producing the Buff 
Rock. Some strains, it is claimed, have originated from the 
Rhode Island Red. While it is a fowl of much merit, the 
Buff Rock is not a popular breed on the general farms, or 
on special poultry farms, and it has never been demon- 
strated that it has any useful qualities not possessed by the 
Barred or White variety. From an economic point of view 
there can be little excuse for the Buff variety. 

Columbian Plymouth Rock and Partridge Plymouth 
Rock. These newer .varieties of the breed, vary only in 
plumage color. They have been established, as other varie- 
ties have been, by a system of cross and inbreeding and ad- 
mitted to the "Standard" as a new breed because they have 
a distinctive color, not because of any difference in real 
practical value. 

The Wyandottes. The Wyandotte was the second pro- 
duction of American breeders. As a breed, the Wyandotte 
has a type of its own. In size and shape it meets the require- 
ments of a general-purpose fowl probably better than any 
other American breed. In size it is a little smaller than the 


Eock, and of a more blocky build. Its blocky shape and 
comparatively early maturity make it a good broiler breed. 
The originators, therefore, had a valid excuse for giving it 
to the world as a new breed. An objection may be urged 
against the "Wyandotte that its type is not very firmly fixed. 
Wyandottes are frequently found of the type of Plymouth 
Rock or Rhode Island Red rather than of the blocky, com- 
pact build. While they are fully the equal of the Plymouth 

Rocks in egg produc- 
tion, their eggs average 
smaller in size. These 
are points that the 
breeders may rectify. 
If it should develop that 
high egg production is 
found in fowls of the 
long body or rangy 
type, then the Wyan- 
dotte would have little 
excuse for existence as 
a general-purpose util- 
ity fowl. However, it 
has not been proved that 
a long body is a sure in- 
WHITE WYANDOTTE HEN dication of good laying 

(Courtesy of A. G. Duston, Massachusetts.) 


As to origin, the Wyandotte came by accident rather than 
by design. If some authorities are right, a Sebright Ban- 
tam and a Cochin hen were mated together to produce an 
improved Cochin Bantam. Silver Spangled Hamburg blood 
was added ; then another cross and a half-bred Cochin hen 
was used. The breed was given the name of the American 
Sebrights, later the Wyandottes. The first Wyandottes 
were produced in the 70 's. 



Variety makers have found a fruitful field in the Wyan- 
dotte family. There are now eight different varieties of 
Wyandottes, as follows : Silver, which was the first, Golden, 
White, Black, Partridge, 
Silver Pencilled, Buff 
and Columbian. 

The Rhode Island 
Reds. This is one of 
the most popular breeds 
in America. More than 
any other American 
breed it owes its distinc- 
tion to its practical 
qualities. For many 
years it had been bred 
as a farm fowl, estab- 
lishing a reputation for 
real merit, before it was 
taken up by' ' Standard ' ' 
breeders and admitted 
to the "Standard" as a 

breed. In weight it is the same as the "Wyandotte, but in 
type it shows more of the Plymouth Rock characteristics 
than the Wyandotte. It is less suggestive of the Cochin 
than the Wyandotte. That it is a fowl of great merit is 
attested by the fact that in the Little Comptor poultry dis- 
trict of Ehode Island, where the poultry industry has been 
developed to a larger extent than in any other district of the 
continent, with the possible exception of Petaluma, Cal., it is 
almost universally kept on the farms. The Rhode Island Red 
has been in existence possibly more than a century, but fan- 
ciers were slow in taking hold of it, and not until a few 
years ago was it admitted to the "Standard of Perfection." 
It is now a prominent class at all poultry shows of the 

(Courtesy of W. D. Kelley, Oregon.) 



country. This breed originated on the farms as a prac- 
tical fowl and with little or no thought of making a new 
breed ; that it has gained so great a popularity is proof that 
the poultry-keepers are alive to the importance of utility 

Considerable obscurity naturally attaches to its origin. 
It is believed, however, that its foundation was the com- 
mon farm fowl on which were crossed breeds of Asiatic 

(Courtesy, Howard H. Keim, Oregon.) 

as well as Mediterranean blood. There is only one variety 
of Keds, though there are both single and rose comb 

McGrew says that this breed is: " The result of fifty years 
of careful outbreeding, and it would have been better for 
the stamina of many of our breeds if they had been bred on 
the same plan, instead of inbred." To Dr. N. B. Aldrich of 
Fall River, Mass., is generally given the credit of intro- 
ducing the Rhode Island red to the public as a new breed. 


The following interesting facts as to the making of this 
breed are given by Miller Purvis: "All over the country, 
men who had sailed the seas, brought home fowls from India, 
China and Europe. These fowls were crossed and mixed in 
indiscriminate confusion. Red Malay, Shanghai, Chitta- 
gong, Brahma and Leghorn were bred and crossed in every 
conceivable way. ' ' The idea of making a new breed finally 
came to Dr. Aldrich and Mr. Buffington. "They did not 
agree on the exact shade the bird should be, and each se- 
lected those which suited his fancy. Mr. Buffington called 
his Buff Plymouth Rocks and Dr. Aldrich invented the name 
of Rhode Island Reds for his, and each took hold of the 
public fancy and two new breeds were born from the 
same flock, both of them being of mongrel blood pure and 
simple. ' ' 

The Dorking. The Dorking has frequently been spoken 
of as the grand old breed of Great Britain. It is an ancient 
breed, attaining popularity long before the introduction of 
the Cochin or Brahma into Europe or America. So ancient 
is it that some enthusiatic writer has said of it : ' ' It would be 
vain to attempt to trace the origin of a breed which was ac- 
curately described two thousand years ago by a Roman writ- 
er ; and as Roman stations abound in Cumberland it is quite 
possible ;that a poultry-fancying praetor fifteen hundred 
years ago might send or carry in the same year the first 
couple of Dorking fowls to the bank of the Thames/' 

Be that as it may, it is certain that Dorking is a breed of 
antiquity, as well as a breed of great merit for meat qual- 
ities. The Cochin craze of sixty years ago threatened its 
existence, but the English breeders stood to their guns and 
saved it from amalgamation with an inferior race. "While 
a large proportion of our general-purpose and meat breeds 
have an infusion of Asiatic blood to the extent of dominance, 
the Dorking successfully weathered the craze, and is to-day 


as pure in blood apparently as though the Cochin had never 
been known. As evidence that it does not owe its size to the 
influence of Asiatic blood it is pointed out that there are 
records which show that the Dorking attained a weight of 14 
pounds more than a hundred years ago, or fifty years before 
the introduction of the Cochin. Brown says that the Dork- 
ing ' ' by its fineness of flesh and delicacy of skin, the white- 
ness of the flesh and legs and the abundance of meat carried 
upon the body, must be regarded as one of the best table 
fowls that it is possible to obtain." In spite of the fact 
that it lays a white egg it maintains much popularity in 
Britain. It cannot be said to be a heavy layer, though we 
are inclined to place it among the general-purpose breeds. 

The Orpington. The modern Orpington is now dividing 
honors in England with the Dorking as a general utility 
breed. From the English standpoint;, in one respect at 
least, the Orpington has an advantage over the Dorking; 
that is color of egg. The combination of white legs and 
skin with tinted or brown eggs is the peculiar achievement 
of the Orpington makers, just as the Plymouth Rock lay- 
ing a white egg would be an achievement for American 
breeders in meeting the market demands. This new com- 
bination is no doubt largely responsible for the popularity 
of the Orpington in Great Britain. The combination of 
white skin and brown egg, however, though commending 
it to the buying public of Great Britain, handicaps it as 
a competitor in America with general-purpose breeds. 
Brown places it among the general-purpose breeds, but 
from its weight and meat qualities it might well be placed 
among the meat breeds of this country. If our market 
preference for yellow legs and skin and white egg is to be 
maintained, it is difficult to see why our American general- 
purpose breeds should be replaced by the Orpington. If 
we wish to discard our American breeds it would be more 


consistent to take up the Dorking, which is fully the equal 
of the Orpington as a table fowl and in addition lays a 
white egg. 

The Buff Orpington. The origin is somewhat clouded 
in obscurity. Brown and other English authorities argue 
that the Buff Orpington came from a farm fowl known 
locally as the Lincolnshire buffs, and that its real origin 
was the Dorking crossed on the common fowl, intercrossing 
with Buff Cochin. William Cook, however, is usually given 
credit in this country for originating the breed, and he 
claims that he crossed the Golden Spangled Hamburg and 
the Buff Cochin, and then the Dorking. Brown states 
that there is abundant evidence that the great majority of 
the present-day Buffs are directly bred from Lincolnshire 
buffs without the slightest relationship to Mr. Cook's 
strain. Mr. K. de Courcy Peele says: "The foundation 
had been laid many years previous to Mr. Cook's time in 
the shape of the Lincolnshire buffs, a variety, if it may be 
so called, which has for many years been the acknowledged 
farmer's fowl in and about Spaulding and the neighbor- 
ing towns." 

The Black Orpington. There seems to be no question 
that William Cook was the originator of the Black Orping- 
ton. The interesting point in its origin, according to Mr. 
Cook himself, is that its ancestors were rejected specimens 
of Black Minorca, Black Langshan, and Plymouth Bock 
(black). The Minorca had such marks as red earlobes; 
the Langshan no feathers on legs, and the Plymouth Rock 
fowls were black. This is a mongrel origin, so far as pres- 
ent exhibition points are concerned. From such an origin 
we have one of our most beautiful breeds of fowls and 
one of considerable utility. 

The White Orpington. The White Orpington is said 
to have been produced by a combination of White Leghorn, 



Black Hamburg and White Dorking. Brown offers objec- 
tion to this origin on the ground that as two of these 
breeds have rose combs, the White Orpington of the pres- 
ent day would show the rose comb very frequently. Later 

knowledge of breeding, 
however, teaches that if 
proper selection be made 
of the crossed offspring, 
the characteristic rose 
comb need not ever 
show in subsequent gen- 
erations. Data on this 
point is given in Chap- 
ter III, page 79. Brown 
declares his belief that 
the White Orpington 
originated as a sport 
from the Blacks. 

The recent popularity 
of the White Orpington 
in this country is strik- 
ing evidence of the power of printers' ink. While 
the breed undoubtedly has great merit, there is no 
real reason why it should displace our American breeds 
which are not handicapped by white skin and legs. Unless 
a new breed can be shown to have superior egg-laying 
qualities it is a mistake to advocate it as a utility breed 
when it possesses other characteristics which depreciate its 
value as a market fowl. If. certain breeders wish to cater 
to the fancy trade, well and good ; if their effort is to pro- 
duce something which will delight the eye and sell for 
fancy prices on that account, that should be clearly under- 
stood. But utility values should not be set by the amount 
of printers ' ink used in advertising. Where the real 

A noted prize winner. 



standard is the market demand for meat and eggs, it is a 
self-evident business proposition that we should choose 
fowls possessing in greatest measure the characteristics 
demanded by the market. These suggestions apply to 
other breeds as well as to the White Orpington, but few 
breeds have been boomed as the latter has. It is a breed, 
however, of distinc- 
tive merit, but as a 
market fowl it fills 
the English rather 
than the American 
market demand. 

The Sussex. 
Some authorities 
would place the Sus- 
sex ahead of the 
D o,r k i n g as the 
grand old breed of 
England. It seems 
to be an equally 
ancient breed. Its 
chief point is its 
meat quality. 
Wright speaks of 

Owned by J. H. Barker, California. 

it as surpassing 

* ' every other 
has made the 

breed on earth " in this respect. It 
fattening industry of certain districts of England 
famous. It has something of the shape and type of the 
Dorking, but somewhat smaller ; it has four toes, and lays 
a tinted egg. It is broad in back, full-breasted, fine boned, 
and hardy. Barring the defect of white skin, it is a type 
of fowl that might well be used in this country for a market 
fowl. There are three varieties : White, Speckled, and Red. 
The Faverolle. In studying general-purpose fowls ac- 
count should be taken of the French breed, Faverolle. In 



Owned by J. H. Barker, California 

size it belongs to the 
general-purpose class. 
In quality of meat it is 
excellent, and is a fair 
layer. It has a large, 
deep, and broad body, 
rather short in legs and 
small in bone. Other 
characteristics are white 
earlobes, white skin, 
heavy beard and muffs, 
slightly feathered on 
legs. The fowls are 
very tame, and stand 
confinement well. In 

meat qualities they probably surpass our American breeds, 

but they have the same handicap as the Orpingtons white 

skin and brown 



There are few 
breeds, and 
none of them 
have originated 
in America, that 
are specially 
made for meat 
Breeding for 
meat in this 
country is prac- 


.icany an un- Qwned by j H Barker> California 



used term. Very little 
earnest concerted atten- 
tion has been given to 
breeding for excellence 
of table qualities. This 
will be a development of 
the future. Were there 
a standard of excellence 
that would disqualify a 
fowl, or throw it out of 
the market, that did not 
show at least 25 to 30% 
more meat than bone 
and offal at six months 
of age, there would soon 
be a change in the meat 
qualities of the fowls 
found in the markets. 



(Courtesy, Editor "La V T ie a La Champagne," 

In a good table 
fowl there should be 
a large percentage of 
edible meat and a 
relatively small 
amount of bone and 
offal. Heavy bone 
and frame should not 
be developed at the 
expense of meat. 
Fowls vary greatly in 
this respect. Mons. E. 
Lemoine, of France, 
has published the re- 
sults of some investi- 
gations on this point, 
as follows: 




Weight of meat on 
fowl 6 mos. old 

Ibs. oz. grs. 

Barbezieux 4 10 92 

Cochins, buff 4 9 

Courtes Pattes 3 10 99 

Crevecceurs 4 9 66 

Dominiques 3 11 66 

Dorkings, silver-gray . . 5 4 282 

Du Mans 4 6 64 

Game, brown-red 3 15 233 

Hamburghs, pencilled . 1 15 335 

Hamburghs, spangled . 2 3 236 

Houdans 3 7 

La Bresse, gray 3 7 67 

La Bresse, black 3 7 375 

La Fleche 3 5 339 

Langshans 5 4 359 

Leghorns 3 15 233 

Polish, spangled 2 12 348 

Weight of bone, 
etc., on fowl 6 

mos. old 






















































There were evidently inaccuracies in the work on which 
this table is based. The Leghorns are given a weight of 
over six pounds. They were not the Leghorns that we 
know to-day. It is evident, however, that breeds vary 
greatly in respect to the point under consideration. It 
would be instructive if the data could be extended to in- 
clude our several American breeds. 

The table on p. 54 gives further data on this subject 
from work at the Oregon station. The fowls used were 
the Barred Plymouth Rock and White Leghorn, and first 
crosses of those breeds: 

1 From ''Poultry-Keeping as an Industry for Farmers and Cot- 
tagers, ' ' by Brown. 

Representing heavy, medium and light breeds, 
record in its year 
more a question 

heavy, medium and light breeds. Each made the highest egg 
ir in Australian Laying competitions. High egg production is 
of breeding than of breeds, of heredity than of type. 








Number of fowl .... 







Live weight (Ibs. oz.) 







Picked and bled 
(Ibs. oz.) 







Per cent loss in pick- 
ing and bleeding . . 

Weight after drawing 
(Ibs. oz.) 







2- .8 

Per cent loss in draw- 
ing . 

Weight of head, bones, 
shanks (Ibs. oz.) 

Total weight of meat 
(Ibs. oz.) . . 







Per cent of edible 

meat to live fowl 







It is seen from the above that there is a larger percentage 
of edible meat in the Plymouth Rock than Leghorn. In 
this test there was 15% more. The cross-bred showed prac- 
tically the same amount as the Plymouth Rock. This indi- 
cates an important difference in the meat value of different 
types of fowls. 

Meat breeds should possess a finer quality of flesh than 
general-purpose breeds ; but this may not always be evident 
in the breeds as we find them. Heavy egg production is 
not and probably never will be associated with excellence 
in meat quality. The active nervous disposition of the 
egg breeds is not favorable to the production of meat of 
high quality. Good meat quality, therefore, should be 
looked for among the slow, inactive, docile breeds. Again, 


good meat quality will not be found in fowls of large bone 
and heavy feathering. In addition the meat breeds should 
have large size. The only breeds of any prominence in 
America that will come under this classification are the 
Cochin, Brahma and Langshan. 

The Brahma. There are two varieties of Brahma, the 
light and the dark. The light Brahma is the largest vari- 

(Oregon Station.) 

ety of fowls of any breed. The Dark Brahma is a pound 
lighter according to ' ' Standard ' ' weights. The chief char- 
acteristics of the Brahma are : Large size, gentle dispo- 
sition, slow, easily confined by low fences and long in 
maturing. The fowls lay a brown egg, have yellow skin 
and shanks, and have heavily feathered legs. There are 
good layers among them, but to breed them specially for 
laying they would most likely degenerate in their meat 
qualities. To maintain them as a meat breed, egg-laying 
should be secondary. The breeder should choose his 
breeding stock from those of good meat type and be satis- 


fied with a fair yield. The special point of the Brahma 
is in filling a demand for large roasting chickens. In some 
markets there is a strong and growing demand for large 
roasting chickens, and the Brahma fills the demand pretty 
well. The Brahma as a utility fowl should fill an impor- 
tant place in the poultry industry, but in breeding it the 
market demands must be the only standard of excellence. 


(Courtesy of E. Shearer, Oregon.) 

The origin of the Brahma has occasioned some contro- 
versy. It has been claimed that it was made in America, 
but this is disputed by the best authorities. There is no 
doubt of its Asiatic origin. Brown asserts that the original 
type of Brahma is met with in the Brahma-pootra district 
of India. The original Brahmas were light in color, the dark 
variety being the result of breeders' work in England and 
America. They were imported into the United States about 
1846, and a few years later into England. The type has 



been changed considerably, more especially in England 
where the breeding of fancy feather points, especially leg 
feathering, has been carried to the extreme. 

The Cochin. The meeting of the yellow Asiatic race with 
the white race took place in 1846 speaking of races of poul- 
try. Nothing disturbed the poultry world like the invasion 

of the yellow Cochin. 
It was lauded to the 
skies, just as it was bit- 
terly execrated. Wright 
says: "It was averred 
that there was no prop- 
erty that a good fowl 
should have, but this 
possessed it; it was de- 
licious roasted or boiled, 
and the hens laid two or 
three eggs a day." 
Again, he says: "Loud 
and long were the pro- 
tests made by the best 
utility breeders, but these were written down by the glib 
pen of the ignorant but ready writer." He tells us fur- 
ther: "One of the greatest evils that befell the splendid, 
large, well-formed and profitable table fowls of the southern 
counties was the introduction of the Shanghai or Cochin." 
Again : ' ' Then came the Shanghai fowls and the craze for 
size, novelty and colored eggs ; and ill it fared with our old 
breeds." "The Cochin or Shanghai craze was the first 
blow that our ancient and almost perfect farm poultry 
received. ' ' 

Then he sarcastically says of the Cochin : ' * They were to 
furnish eggs for the breakfast, fowls for the table, and better 
morals than even Doctor Watts' hymns for the children, who 


Exhibition type of present day. (Courtesy 

of Dr. J. J. Hare, Ontario.) 


were from them to learn kind and gentle manners and 
thence forward to live in peace. " In 1847 it was declared 
that ' ' all England was given over to a universal hen fever ' ' 
the Asiatic had invaded England, and the Britisher had 
bowed the knee. It is asserted that $250 was freely paid 
for a cock bird, and $25 for a sitting of eggs. The Queen of 
England had received an importation in 1845. Poultry 


(A special French meat breed. (Courtesy of Editor, "La Vie a La 
Campagne," Paris.) 

shows became fashionable and great crowds attended, but 
in process of time, as Brown says, "the bubble burst." 
Wright declared valiantly against the crime of ' ' mongreliz- 
ing" the ancient fowls of England with the Cochin. 

The invasion occurred. The Cochin disappeared, but not 
before the fowls of two continents had been ' ' mongrelized ' ' 
as Wright would have it. The Cochin has practically ceased 
to be a part of the poultry industry. It is unknown as a 
practical breed. It has passed from the stage. But it has 
left its stamp. The yellow leg and the yellow skin came 



from the Asiatic, so did the brown egg. All our prominent 
American-made breeds and many prominent European 
breeds have a mixture of Cochin blood. They are all tainted. 
Like the bee that stings and pays the penalty with its own 
life, the Cochin has suffered annihilation. 

What the practical effect has been of the amalgamation 
of the two races, the yellow and the white, it would be diffi- 


cult to say; but there will be few who will now take the 
stand that the poultry industry was badly stung by the 
Asiatics. As the case now stands, the Cochin blood is found 
in a great many breeds that excell the present-day Cochin 
in practical qualities. The extinction of the Cochin as a 
practical breed was due not so much to any glaring demerits 
of the fowl, but rather to a system of breeding for fancy 
feathering which made it impossible to maintain in the breed 
whatever useful qualities it may have possessed. The com- 
paratively little emphasis placed on meat qualities by poul- 



try-keepers in general was no doubt also a factor in its ex- 

There are four varieties of Cochins; namely, Buff, Par- 
tridge, White and Black. The chief characteristics of the 
Cochin are its large size loose feathering giving it a more 

massive appearance, 
and gentle disposi- 
tion. In shape it is 
short, broad and 

The Langshan. 
The Langshan also 
originated in China, 
but like the Cochin 
and Brahma it has 
been improved in ap- 
pearance by the fan- 
ciers. It has a greater 
popularity for laying 
than the Brahma and 
Cochin, but inferior 

(Courtesy, Editor "La Vie a La Campagne," Paris.) 

as a meat fowl. A 
pen of Langshan fowls made a wonderful egg record at the 
Australian laying competitions, the particular pen being 
from stock imported direct from China, and represented a 
different type of fowl than the Langshan now found in this 

The La Fleche. The La Fleche is one of the leading 
fowls of France. High prices are paid in France for large 
fowls of good quality, and this breed is largely used to sup- 
ply this demand. The males weigh up to ten pounds and the 
females to eight. The plumage color is black. In this breed 
the French poultry-keepers have evolved a fowl of great 
merit. Its flesh has exceptional delicacy. 



The breeding of poultry for definite types or characteris- 
tics is a modern art. Even at this day, in its general prac- 
tice, it is largely a hit or miss business. It cannot be said 
that it has been reduced to a science if by that is meant that 
the breeder can predict with accuracy the results of his 
work. It has been contended only within the present decade 
that, on the one hand, the hen does, and, on the other hand, 
does not transmit laying qualities. The preponderance of 
evidence seemed to favor the view that heredity counted for 
little or nothing in the science or art of poultry breeding as 
it related to improvement of egg-laying qualities. The stage 
had been reached, it was contended by some, where the breed- 
er must look for defeat if he expected heredity to come to 
his assistance in producing fowls of higher fecundity. Where 
was the luckless breeder to look ? Was he to rest on his oars 
and confess himself beaten? 

Before poultry-keeping may become a more profitable and 
certain business, the egg-laying efficiency of the hen must be 
increased. The average production of the flock is lower than 
it should be. How to increase production is probably the 
greatest of the problems that concern poultry breeders. If 
they are to secure the fullest measure of success, they must 
set themselves resolutely to the task of solving this problem. 
Recent poultry breeding history offers assurance that steady, 
persistent work will bring rich rewards. 

While the interest in poultry breeding has centered large- 
ly around the egg, it is only a question of time when the prob- 



lem of developing meat qualities will command attention. 
There is an inviting field here for the breeder, one that has 
barely been touched upon in this country. Notwithstanding 
the great consumption of poultry, there is only one reason 
why this is not double what it now is : namely, the poultry 
that goes to market has not been bred for market ; or rather 
not much consideration has been given to market qualities 
in breeding. An inspection of the poultry that goes to the 
average city market amply demonstrates the fact that more 
attention has been given to breeding for weight than to 
amount of edible meat on the carcass. There is too large a 
proportion of bone to meat. What the breeder should aim 
at, is to increase the amount of edible meat on the carcass 
without increasing its weight. To accomplish such result 
would be a worthy achievement for American breeders. The 
growing demand for greater perfection in meat qualities in 
the fowl must be met, and one of the developments of the 
poultry industry that is bound to come in a few years will 
be a keen competition among poultry breeders to meet the 
ideals for a perfect table fowl. 


Poultry breeding will never be a business of mathematical 
certainties. The final result of the breeding must rest large- 
ly on the skill of the breeder himself. In other words, poul- 
try breeding is more of an art than a science. The success- 
ful breeder, however, follows, consciously or unconsciously, 
certain laws or principles that have been established or 
proved by science. A brief explanation of some of these laws 
follows : 

Heredity. The transmission of qualities or characteris- 
tics from parent to offspring is controlled by the law of 
heredity. Brahma chickens may be hatched from eggs of 
the same size as Leghorn chickens ; the chicks may be the 


same size when hatched, but from, that time on the influence 
of heredity will be shown in the larger growth of the chick 
that has an ancestry showing large size. When a pure-bred 
Leghorn is mated to a pure-bred Leghorn it is almost a cer- 
tainty that the offspring will be fowls of small size. 

When the male offspring begins to crow, it does so be- 
cause of this same law ; its male ancestors for thousands of 
years have crowed. Sometimes the breeder, and often the 
nearby neighbor in the early hours of the morning would 
prefer that this law was more flexible and that it were pos- 
sible to breed chickens without a crow, but the breeder 
knows by experience that there are certain characteristics 
that have become fixed and that if he attempted to change 
them he would get nothing for his pains. So is egg-laying 
a fixed characteristic. It is a law of nature or heredity that 
the hen lays eggs. The law is that like begets like. The 
practical breeder is guided by this law first and foremost. 

But while the law of heredity is persistent and inflexible, 
while like begets like, there is the strange contradiction in 
nature that no two individuals are alike. The male chickens 
all crow; they are alike in that respect, but there are dif- 
ferences in the crow which are easily discernible. So the 
females are alike in regard to laying eggs ; they all lay eggs, 
but there are differences in the layers; some will lay five 
eggs a week, others one ; some 200 a year, others 20. Another 
law is seen here. 

Variation. It is the law of variation. This law of varia- 
tion has already been referred to. Some fowls of the same 
ancestry or breed vary in number of points in the comb, in 
size of comb, in length of wattles, in color of eye, in length 
of limb, in color of plumage, in amount of meat, in size or 
weight of bone, in number of eggs laid, in size and color of 
egg, etc. This is variation. Variation is the opportunity 
for the breeder. The problem that confronts him at the out- 



set is first to recognize the limitations due to heredity, and, 
second, to discover wherein certain points or characteristics 
may be improved by taking advantage of variation. 

How may desirable variations be fixed ? Is it an evolution- 
ary process ? In other words, is it a process of breeding that 
requires years to accomplish; or may it happen at once? 


Hen (left) laid 239 eggs in a year. 
Hen (right) laid 7 eggs in a year. (Oregon Station.) 

If a 200-egg hen be bred from a strain of fowls that lay only 
100 eggs a year, will her female offspring lay 200 eggs a 
year, or will they take after the more remote ancestors and 
lay only 100 eggs ; or will there be a tendency to lay more 
than 100 due to the influence of the immediate parent ? Will 
the immediate parent transmit her qualities to the offspring, 
or will the influence of all the ancestors be apparent ? Is it a 
variation that is called continuous because it has been grad- 
ually evolved, step by step, or is it discontinuous, appearing 
suddenly, having none of the characteristics of its imme- 
diate ancestors? The old theory of breeding was that all 


variation was continuous, or, if a sport or mutation did ap- 
pear, it would suddenly disappear. In other words, all im- 
provement was the result of selection selecting the best, 
generation after generation, until finally the desired type 
or characteristics became firmly fixed. This was the theory 
of Darwin; but it has been shown that all improvement 
is not a slow evolutionary process; that it is not all a 
matter of selection, but that a new type may suddenly 
appear and start a new variety or a new breed. The 
vast majority of ''sports" or mutants may not breed 
true; they may disappear as suddenly as they came, 
but the breeder with a knowledge of the history of 
new varieties of plants and animals will carefully test any 
variations that point to higher excellence. 

During the past half century at least one breed of fowls 
owes its existence to the appearance of the mutant. A white 
"sport" came from a dark breed and resulted in one of our 
popular breeds. The mutant may disgrace the yard of the 
fancier who is breeding for uniformity, but the breeder who 
wishes to perpetuate new and desirable characteristics or 
establish a new breed must be on the lookout for and care- 
fully preserve such characteristics when they appear. 

Two-hundred-egg hens may or may not breed true. Some 
of them may and some may not, but the progressive breeder 
will take his chances. So far as it is now known, it is a 
chance, and the sure way to determine whether one hen or 
one male will breed true is to test them in the breeding pen. 

Reversion. Variation, however, is not always in the line 
of progress. Sometimes the offspring may vary away from 
the line of improvement. Sometimes characteristics that have 
a counterpart only in remote ancestors, appear suddenly. 
This is called reversion or breeding back. The scientific 
name is atavism. What causes reversion is one of the great 
mysteries. There is a latent tendency, largely unknown, 


for breeding to evolve backward. It sometimes happens 
that the offspring shows characteristics that have not been 
known to appear for centuries in the history of the breed. 
Reversion works for desirable as well as undesirable traits. 

The causes which produce reversion are not always ap- 
parent, but factors such as a change in food or climate are 
known to cause reversion. Characteristics that have ap- 
parently been lost, but are not lost, only latent, may reap- 
pear when the system of breeding is changed. 

The reader is referred to page six for reference to Dar- 
win's experiments on reversion, wherein Darwin claimed 
that he secured a fowl that reverted to the pattern of the 
jungle fowl, showing characteristics that had been latent for 
possibly two thousand years. The experiment was repeated 
by Dr. Davenport of the Carnegie Institution with similar 

The point* has not yet been reached that the origin of any 
particular breed or variety may in this way be demonstrated 
with certainty, but it is possible by crossing a Plymouth 
Rock, for example, with some other breed, and then recross- 
ing the offspring to discover strong circumstantial evidence 
as to what breeds were used in producing the Plymouth 

At the Oregon Station a White Wyandotte and a Black 
Minorca were mated. The offspring were white. Mating the 
white offspring together chicks were secured that were strip- 
ed in the down on the back. Neither the Minorcas nor the 
Wyandotte chicks show stripes in the down. This was evi- 
dently a reversion to some remote ancestor, possibly to some 
of the breeds that were used in the" making up of the Wyan- 
dottes. It is known that the young of all wild fowls of the 
Gallinaceous species are hatched with stripes in the down 
of back, and it is possible that by the proper crossing this 
characteristic, though latent possibly for a thousand years, 



would appear in the chick. These stripes still appear in the 
down of newly hatched chicks of the Brown leghorn breed 
and some others. 

A third cross from the same breeds produce fowls that 
were barred in the feathers, though barring was not a char- 
acteristic of any of the different breeds known to have been 
used in producing 
either. It might have 
been that later, if not in 
the making 1 of the breeds, 
by accident, or design, 
a cross was made with a 
barred breed, and the 
characteristic of bar- 
ring, though latent so 
long as no crossing was 
resorted to, reappeared 
when crossing and inter- 
crossing took place. The 
fact that a hen may lay 
only a dozen eggs in a 
year may be accounted 
for by reversion to the 
wild ancestor. In cross- 
ing the Barred Ply- 
mouth Rock and the 
White Leghorn, some 90 
per cent, of the progeny were white. In crossing the 
white crosses together, a few of the offspring were blue in 

Reversion is usually an evil, not always. Where improve- 
ment has been going steadily on, reversion must always be 
an evil. Sometimes, however, progress has gone backward 
in breeding, and in that case reversion may restore the lost 


Female of second generation. Note barring. 


character. The practical lesson to the breeder is that he 
should eliminate everything in the breeding and manage- 
ment that may cause reversion when he is making satisfac- 
tory progress. 

The Pure-Bred, or Purity in Breeding. We are accus- 
tomed to considering pedigree as synonymous with purity 
of breeding. The Shorthorn that can trace an unbroken 
ancestry back to the Duchess family is a pure-bred. The 
Berkshire that has a clear line of descent from Longfellow 
an animal of superior excellence that belonged to a breeder 
of Missouri about twenty years ago is a pure-bred Berk- 
shire. If one of its ancestors had been crossed with a Poland 
China a number of years ago, even though no trace of Poland 
China could now be detected, and it would win in the show 
ring, it would not be pure bred. The pedigree was every- 
thing. But Mendelism has given a new meaning to pure 
bred. It has shown us that purity of breeding has a physio- 
logical basis. A bird or animal may be pure bred in respect 
to one character and inpure in respect to another. A bird, 
for example, may be pure in respect to the character 
"comb," but not pure in respect to some other character. 
If a cock and a hen of a single comb breed when mated 
breed offspring with single combs, they are pure bred so far 
as comb is concerned. 

If, however, some of the offspring are black and others 
white they are not pure bred in respect to color of plumage. 
They would be mongrels in color, but pure bred in comb. 
It is a question of unit characters, not individuals. Again, 
if a hen laying 150 eggs in a year, mated to a male from a 
150-egg hen, produces offspring that lay less than 100 eggs, 
she would not be pure bred in respect to egg production. 
The parents are pure-bred when their own characteristics 
are reproduced in the offspring with reasonable certainty. 
A hen is a pure-bred egg producer if she transmits her egg- 


laying qualities to her offspring, even though her offspring 
come in various colors, sizes and shapes. 

A noted exponent of Mendelism says that purity of type 
"has nothing to do with a prolonged course of selection, 
natural or artificial. ' ' Again he says : ' ' An organism may 
be pure-bred in respect of a given character though its 
parents were cross-bred in the same respect. Purity depends 
on the meeting of the two gametes bearing similar factors, 
and when two similarly constituted gametes do thus meet in 


Pedigreed cockerels, all from stock, with records of over 200 eggs in a year. 
They were sent to breeders in various sections of the United States and to 
several foreign countries to breed better layers. Bred at the Oregon Station. 

fertilization the product of their union is pure. The belief, 
so long prevalent, that purity of type depends essentially 
on continued selection is thus shown to have no physiological 
foundation. Similarly, it is evident that an individual may 
be pure in respect to one character and cross-bred or impure 
in respect of others." (Bateson) Again, "An animal may 
have one thirty-secondth of the blood of some progenitor, 
and yet be pure in one or more of its traits. ' ' 

A fowl may be mongrel in one respect and pure in another. 


A Plymouth Rock may be "barred to the skin" and trans- 
mit that characteristic to the offspring. It is pure in that 
respect, but she may not be able to transmit to her offspring 
the yellow leg color ; if so, she is not pure in that respect. 
The Blue Andalusian is considered a pure breed, and yet 
from the standpoint of purity it is mongrel so far as 
color is concerned, for when both Andalusian parents are 
blue, the offspring are blue, black, or splashed white. Ex- 
perimenters have found that, on the average, half the off- 
spring will be blue, one-fourth black, and one fourth splash- 
ed white. Now when the blacks are mated together the off- 
spring are all black; and white with white gives all white. 
The blacks and whites breed pure, but the blues are not pure, 
in other words mongrels, so far as color is concerned. Again, 
if blacks and whites are bred together the offspring are all 
blue. No amount of selection, line breeding, or inbreeding, 
will overcome this peculiarity, or trait of the Andalusian; 
the Blue Andalusian will remain forever a mongrel race 
so far as color is concerned. 

What then is a Pure-bred Fowl? It may be denned as 
one that possesses the characteristics of the breed to which it 
belongs and reproduces those characteristics in its offspring 
with reasonable certainty. Purity of breeding refers to 
the blood lines or pedigree of the fowl and to its ability to 
transmit the breed characteristics to the progeny. The 
makers of poultry standards have not been able to incor- 
porate in their standards anything signifying egg-laying 
points, because it has never been demonstrated that there 
is any particular shape or type of fowl that indicates its 
laying qualities, nor has it been possible or practicable up to 
date to include in the standard a requirement as to perfor- 
mance, or a record of eggs laid. On the other hand, the 
only requirement to admit a horse to the Trotting Register 
is speed. He must have speed and an ancestry of speed. 


Breeders of dairy cattle have a register of merit, and no 
animal is admitted to that register without a certified per- 
formance record. 

If some such plan could be worked out for poultry breed- 
ers, it would place utility poultry breeding upon a more 
certain and profitable basis. It is doubtful if this can be 
accomplished without state aid. The dairy records are 
authenticated and certi- 
fied by state agricul- 
tural college officials. 
It would be possible to 
maintain breeding sta- 
tions to which a poultry 
breeder might send a 
few fowls to be trap- 
nested for a year, or the 
state could keep on a 
farm of its own suffi- 
cient stock to furnish at 
nominal cost a limited 
amount of stock of good 
laying pedigree to cer- 
t a i n poultry - keepers 
and farmers in different 

counties of the state. This would form a nucleus for a 
strain of good producers in each community, from which 
could be sold stock and eggs for breeding purposes in that 
community, using the state farm from which to secure 
breeding males with which to maintain the egg-laying 
qualities of their flocks. 

A third method would be for a few reliable private 
breeders in each county to trapnest a flock and keep pedigree 
records, selling eggs and breeding fowls only from pedigreed 
stock. It is not clear, however, how satisfactory progress 

Son of a 218-egg hen. (Oregon Station.) 



could be made without state aid or state supervision in some 
way that will relieve the poultry-keeper or farmer of the 
burden of keeping the necessary individual records and 
guarantee the reliability of the pedigree. To be of value this 
work must be continued year after year. To trapnest the 
flock for one year and pick out a few of the best layers for 
breeding, would amount to little. The pedigree to be of 
value must have several generations behind it, and this 
means not only that trapnesting must be done each year, but 

also that a record must 
be kept showing the in- 
dividual parentage of 
the chicks hatched. 

In any event, there is 
opportunity for private 
breeders to do a profit- 
able business, if they 
have the time to devote 
to it and the necessary 
knowledge for the keep- 
ing of pedigree records 
and for the proper mat- 
ing of breeding stock. 

In regard to show 
standards, it has not 
been made clear how 


From 200-egg stock. Note vigor and alert- 
ness. Has good show points also. (Oregon 

they can be changed so 
that the poultry judge 

in making awards may be able to place proper value on pro- 
ductive qualities as shown by the trapnest record or pedigree 
of performance. But if the poultry show is to keep pace with 
the development of productive poultry-keeping, something 
is due to be done that will change poultry standards and 
give a different meaning to pure-breds other than that they 



breed pure or true to certain characteristics of color and 
shape, but are impure from the standpoint of egg produc- 

Cross Breeding. In considering poultry breeding from 
the farm standpoint, it should not be overlooked that a large 
proportion of poultry products come from fowls that are not 
pure-bred. A great 
many farmers practice 
crossing ; others practice 
grading possibly 
a large majority; while 
not a few follow another 
system which may be 
called mongrelizing. 
This chapter has to do 
with the first, crossing. 
Probably most of the 
farmers of the country 
recognize the necessity 
o f introducing new 
blood into the flock and 
of avoiding inbreeding, 
but they have not BARRED PLYMOUTH ROCK MALE 
chosen, intentionally or 
otherwise, to preserve 
breed characteristics as 
they are described in the "Standard of Perfection." Com- 
paratively few of them pay attention to exhibition points. 
It is contended that the farmer makes a mistake in not 
keeping strictly standard-bred fowls, but he excuses him- 
self on the ground : First, that the initial cost of stocking 
up with standard-breds is greater than the business would 
warrant ; second, it has not been demonstrated to his satis- 
faction that standard-breds are better producers than cross- 

Oregon Station. Dam laid 214 eggs and 
sire's dam 218. A fine type of Plymouth 
Rock, but rather large as a breeder of high 
egg producers. 



breds or grades ; third, that the great bulk of animal prod- 
ucts of all kinds come from grade stock. Those who are 
making money out of pure-bred, fancy-bred livestock are 
those who are in the business partly or wholly of producing 
and selling breeding stock. Fourth, there would not be 
enough standard-bred chickens in the country to stock 
up the farms. 

Advantages of crossing. (1) The crossing of two dis- 
tinct breeds usually results in greater vigor. This is more 

apparent where pure- 
breds have suffered 
from close breeding or 
inbreeding. Many breeds 
of poultry have been in- 
jured from too close 
breeding. It is common 
history that several 
breeds, once prominent, 
are now practically ex- 
tinct as a result of too 
much inbreeding. A 
number of years ago 
the Black Spanish had a reputation on two continents as a 
splendid egg-producer, but as a result of insensate breed- 
ing for a fancy point it is practically unknown to-day. Its 
most striking characteristic is its long white face, and the 
fancier set about making it longer, sacrificing every other 
point, with the result noted. It may not follow that close 
breeding is necessarily fatal. It may not be impossible in 
the hands of expert breeders to intensify fancy points, or 
any other points, by long-continued inbreeding, without an- 
nihilating the breed. It means a great sacrifice in the mean- 
time ; its numbers are so diminished, its breeding powers so 
impaired, that practical poultry-keepers cast it aside. 


The photograph on the left shows the head 
of the original Spanish male. The one on 
the right is the modern bird. (From "Poul- 
try for Table and Market.") 


Wright says, * ' There can be no doubt that too close inter- 
breeding has greatly injured the Spanish fowl, and that not 
only size, but also constitution and prolificacy have been 
sacrificed to the white face alone. ' ' 

Other examples could be given where close breeding for a 
fancy point has removed breeds from the arena of practical 
poultry-keeping. The Buff Cochin is another that now gets 
little consideration from practical poultry breeders, largely 
because it has been sacrificed by close breeding to the fad of 
profuse leg feathering. The Brahma has been similarly in- 
jured. The Plymouth Rock was in danger from the fad of 
giving the prize to the bird showing the best barring, other 
points being given slight consideration, but owing to its 
wide distribution on the farms of the country and to the fact 
that there were enough breeders to ignore the extreme de- 
mands for barring, it has not suffered as some other breeds 

The present popularity of the Rhode Island Red is largely 
due to its vigor, which came from its outgrowth origin, and 
it would have been better, as McGrew intimates, if many 
other breeds had been bred on the same plan. 

' ' The effects of too close interbreeding on animals, judg- 
ing from plants, ' ' says Darwin, ' t would be deterioration in 
general vigor, including fertility, with no necessary loss of 
excellence of form." That is, there will be a loss in vigor, 
but this may not be evident in the form or appearance of 
the fowl. 

1 'The evidence convinces me," he says again, "that it is 
a great law of nature that all organic beings profit from an 
occasional cross with individuals not closely related to them 
in blood." Again, "The crossing of varieties adds to the 
size, vigor, and fertility of the offspring. ' * 

Edward Brown, in "Poultry-Keeping for Farmers and 
Cottagers," says: "Recrossing very largely remedies this 


[deterioration in profitable qualities], for it is found that 
first crosses between suitable breeds give us hardier and 
more prolific birds than were either of the parents. ' ' 

The evils of close breeding of animals are pointed out by 
Shaler, in * ' Domesticated Animals. ' ' He says : ' " Among 
the evils which are to be corrected we may also count that 
which arises from the unguided development of what are 
called fancy breeds. Thus among our horned cattle the 
Jersey has been bred to a point where, from the iniquitous 
inbreeding, which is against what may be called the moral- 
ity of nature, they are fearfully subjected to tuberculosis." 

"It is a generally received opinion," says Tegetmeier, 
"that cross-bred chickens are the hardiest and most easily 

(2) The use of cross-breds enables many people to en- 
gage in poultry-keeping who would otherwise be debarred 
owing to the comparative scarcity of pure-breds and to the 
high prices that are demanded for them. If the object is 
to develop the industry as a means of food supply, it would 
be a mistake to advocate the slaughter of the cross-breds. If 
cross-breds were to be eliminated at once, it would mean an 
immediate and serious decrease in poultry products. 

(3) Crossing, where it increases vigor, improves the lay- 
ing. The productive hen has good vitality. Heavy egg 
production requires a high expenditure of energy, and to 
maintain this production the fowl must have stamina. While 
the loss of vigor may not be apparent in the form or out- 
ward appearance of the fowl, it will show in lower produc- 
tion. Vigor is not so essential in breeding for type or for 
show qualities, but it is very essential in breeding for eggs. 
In experiments conducted by the writer, a hen weighing 
three pounds produced 29 pounds of eggs in a year, about 
ten times her body weight. Another weighing less than five 
pounds produced 42 pounds of eggs in a year. To with- 


stand this strain on her reproductive organs, her vitality 
must not have been impaired by any system of breeding. 
To demand production of that intensity from a strain of 
fowls that have been bred and inbred for generations for 
any special point is to demand the impossible. It is not 
here claimed that standard-bred fowls or show birds are 
necessarily poor layers. It is not impossible for the breeder 
to breed show birds and at the same time maintain the vital- 
ity necessary for the high production, but close breeding 
for either fancy points or utility points will not insure 
good layers, any more than the same kind of breeding with 
mongrels will produce good layers. 

(4) New breeds and varieties are produced by crossing. 
Most of our modern breeds are the result of cross breed- 
ing. Crossing induces variation, and it is in taking ad- 
vantage of these variations that new breeds and varieties 
arise. Some crosses or hybrids possessing desired charac- 
teristics breed true, and the type at once becomes fixed. On 
the other hand, the great majority will not breed true, and 
years of careful selection will be necessary to fix the type. 
The Plymouth Rock, Wyandotte, Rhode Island Red, and 
other breeds are all the result of crossing. The Orpington, 
of more recent origin, resulted from crossing many breeds, 
and William Cook, the originator, said that he got "so many 
more eggs than he did when the breeds were pure that it 
gave him a new idea." 

Jordan and Kellogg, in "Evolution and Animal Life," 
say, ' ' Often as much progress can be made in a single suc- 
cessful cross or hybridization as in a dozen or even a hun- 
dred generations of pure selection. ' ' 

The Primus berry was produced by Luther Burbank with 
a cross between the Siberian raspberry and the California 
Dewberry. Its fruit excells either parent in abundance 
and size, and ripens before the two parents begin to bloom. 



Male. White is dominant color. 

The Loganberry, the 
product of a cross, is 
greatly superior to 
either parent in produc- 

Breeders are just be- 
ginning to learn a little 
as to what may be ac- 
complished by crossing, 
and it is not unreason- 
able to expect great im- 
provement in the eco- 
nomic qualities of fowls 
when breeders master 
the science and art of 
crossing. There is an 

inviting field for developing by crossing new strains or 

varieties of fowls where egg and meat production forms 

the chief object sought, 

but it should only be 

undertaken by those 

having skill, experience, 

and patience. 

The first cross will 

give offspring of one or 

two kinds: either they 

will resemble in one or 

more characteristics one 

of the parents exclus- 
ively, or they will show 

resemblance to both. 

Certain characteristics 

blend; others do not. 

Female. White dominant color. 

Where the offspring re- 
semble one parent, and 


the males and females of that cross are bred together, some 
of the second generation will resemble the other parent, and 
when these are bred together they will breed true, the off- 
spring will all resemble their parents. This was shown at 
the Oregon Station in breeding Barred Plymouth Rock and 
White Leghorn fowls. The first generation were all white, or 
practically so, taking after one parent. When these crosses 
were bred together there was reversion to the Barred parent, 
some of them being barred, and in mating these barred 
crosses together they bred true and produced only barred 
offspring. Again, in crossing a White Wyandotte with a 


Flock showing dominant color white. 

Single Comb White Leghorn, the offspring had practically 
all rose combs. Breeding the crosses together, tha off- 
spring reverted to the Leghorn, some of them showing single 
combs. Breeding this single-comb offspring together, they 
bred true to the character single comb. Rose comb is a 
dominant characteristic, single recessive, and recessives 
breed true, while the dominants do not. Thte is Mendelism. 
A knowledge of these facts will often prove useful to the 
poultry breeder. 

Disadvantages of Crossing. In the foregoing the ad- 
vantages of crossing have been enumerated. If the dis- 
cussion were to stop here it might be inferred that the poul- 



tryman must necessarily cross his fowls. But there are cer- 
tain disadvantages, some of which will now be considered. 
First, before there can be any crossing, there must be 
breeds to cross. Why, then, should breeds be made and then 
unmade ? It is not necessary that they should be unmade, 
if the breeds remain in their original purity. The only ex- 
cuse for crossing is that 
breeds have been partly 
unmade, or they have 
lost some of their origi- 
nal utility. They may 
have lost vigor, and size, 
and productiveness, and 
the excuse for crossing 
is to restore those lost 

There is no need of 
crossing, however, i f 
sane methods have been 
followed in breeding. 
But in crossing, if vigor 
and fertility be restored, 
other characteristics 
will be 1 o sj , a n d 
it wjll be for the breeder to decide whether the gain is 
equal to the loss. For example, he is breeding White Leg- 
horns and they have lost in vigor and productiveness ; a cross 
with Brown Leghorns will restore these, but he has lost the 
perfection in white color, and it will take several years to 
eradicate this taint. If color is all important to him, or if 
other points that may have been lost by crossing are more 
important than the points gained, then he should hesitate 
to cross, and depend rather upon the introduction into his 
breeding yards of birds from other strains of the same breed 


White plumage color and rose comb 
dominant characteristics. 



and preferably from other sections of the country, to im- 
prove vigor. 

Tlie two alternatives are crossing and outcrossing. The 
theoretical objection to crossing is that it disturbs blood 
lines, and the influence of ancestry is lost. In other wqrds, 
while it may " improve the breed it spoils the blood. " 
While crossing often results in improved strains that excel 
their parents, causing a tendency upward, it is also true that 


Barred Rock and White Leghorn Cross. D621 laid 275 eggs; D. 622 laid 
272 eggs in a year. (Oregon Station.) 

crossing sometimes reverses the engine of evolution and 
throws backward. This usually happens when it is con- 
tinued beyond the first generation. Crossing cross-breds 
with cross-breds will start the engine going backward; in 
other words, reversion will happen, and the result is likely 
t6 be mongrels, or even a type resembling in some charac- 
teristics the wild ancestor. Indiscriminate crossing will 
lead to degeneracy just as surely as will indiscriminate in- 
breeding. The first cross will give vigor, as much, probably, 


as a dozen crosses. While the benefits of crossing cannot 
be ignored, it must be remembered that the mongrel con- 
dition of many farm flocks is due to indiscriminate cross- 

Grading. Probably the kind of poultry breeding fol- 
lowed by the majority of farmers would be better charac- 
terized by grading them by crossing. Grading may be de- 
fined as the breeding up of common or mongrel stock by 
the use of pure-bred sires. The object is not to restore lost 
vigor or other lost characteristics, nor to establish new 
breeds, but to improve the flock by means of the sire only. 

' ' The failure to make the most of grading, ' ' says Daven- 
port in * ' Principles of Breeding, " " is the largest single mis- 
take of American farmers." The great bulk of cattle that 
furnish the meat supply of the world are grade Shorthorns 
and Herefords. The same thing is true of farm poultry- 
keeping, the failure to make the most of grading by the use 
of pure-bred males is the farmer 's greatest single mistake. In 
four or five generations, by the use of pure-bred males, a 
variegated mongrel-looking lot of chickens may be bred up 
to a uniform type resembling closely the breed to which the 
male belongs. If the male is chosen, however, as he naturally 
will be, from a strain of heavy layers, the farmer will have 
the satisfaction and the pleasure not only of receiving 
greater profit as a result of his labor, but also of witnessing 
an object lesson in breeding of supreme interest through the 
gradual but sure realization of his ideals both in increased 
production and in the gradual unfolding of a distinct type 
and color. 

The important thing in grading is to begin with an ideal 
and stick to it. If the result sought is higher egg produc- 
tion, the breeder should use preferably one of the smaller 
breeds, but certainly a strain that can show records of high 
production. Under no condition should this purpose be 


departed from. If uniformity of excellence in laying is 
desired, the object will be quickest secured by using each 
year a male that has a good pedigree in that respect. 
Changing the breed or type of male each year will result in 
getting nowhere. The failure to make the most of grading 
has been due to the occasional or frequent use of grade 

A grade may have apparently all the characteristics of 
the pure-bred ; he may look so attractive that the breeder is 
tempted to take a chance and use him for breeding, with 
the result that improvement is likely to go backward. The 
grade may himself have all the characteristics, but he has 
not the ancestry or blood lines behind him to insure the 
transmission of those qualities, and instead of grading up, 
the process is liable to become mongrelizing. It should also 
be clearly understood that the male should not only be pure- 
bred, but he should have that purity of breeding that ex- 
tends to egg-laying; in other words*, he should be from a 
strain that is known to consist of good layers. 

Prepotency. The reason a grade male may not transmit 
his characteristics has been ascribed to a lajck of what is 
called prepotency. Prepotency, therefore, is the ability of 
the parent to fix his characteristics in the offspring. All 
parents have not this power in the same degree. This is the 
significant fact for the breeder. It is not enough to know 
that a certain male or female has a long pedigree, or that 
the blood lines have been carefully preserved for years. 
Prepotency does not always follow blood lines. Later knowl- 
edge has given a modified meaning to prepotency, and the 
fact has been proved that one individual may be prepotent 
and another of the same blood lines, possibly of the same 
parentage, is not. It is true that the individual having been 
bred pure to a certain type for a great many generations is 
more likely to transmit his characteristics than would a 


grade; the chances are much in favor of the pure-bred, 
otherwise all the laws of heredity would be of no avail. But 
it is certain that fowls of the same breeding are not equally 
prepotent. The Mendelian law of dominance furnishes the 

Dominance. There are certain characters that are domi- 
nant. For example, white plumage is a dominant color. 
This was shown in the cross mentioned between Barred 
Plymouth Rocks and White Leghorns, where the offspring 
were all white. They resembled only one parent in color. 
Color, however, is only one .character. The offspring of a 
cross may take after one parent in one point and the other 
parent in some other point. For example, in crossing a 
black Wyandotte with a White Leghorn, the offspring will 
resemble the Wyandotte in the kind of comb, but the Leg- 
horn in color of plumage, a white chicken with a rose comb. 
It is said, then, that the white color and the rose comb are 
dominant characteristics, and that single comb and black 
color are recessives, and no matter what breeds may be 
crossed, the dominant characters of white plumage and rose 
comb will show in the offspring, and the recessive charac- 
ters will not. It is not a question of ancestry or blood lines. 

While the offspring have all rose combs they are impure 
rose, and this is brought out in the next generation, when 
the cross-breds are bred together. In this generation re- 
version takes place, and on the average 25% of the offspring 
will have the recessive character of single combs ; 75% will 
have rose combs; but of these, 25% are pure rose, that is, 
they will forever breed pure to rose combs, but the 50% 
are impure. This 50% when recrossed will segregate in 
the same way, 25% single combs, 75% rose combs, but of 
the 75% only 25% will breed pure rose combs, and so on. 

It resolves itself into a question of testing the breeding 
powers rather than a question of selection. The 25% 


recessives will breed pure single combs and no amount of 
selective breeding will make them purer. This is the dis- 
covery of Mendel. Twenty-five per cent of the dominants, 
rosecombs, will breed pure; that is, a third, but the only 
way to pick out the third or determine which will breed 
pure rose combs, is to test them by breeding. The way to 
test them is to mate them to single comb fowls, and if the 
progeny have rose combs, the rose comb parent is pure and 
will always breed pure rose combs. This requires, of 
course, individual mating. All this gives a new meaning 
to prepotency. Prepotency is not altogether dependent 
upon length of pedigree. 

Egg Color and Dominance. It has been discovered, how- 
ever, that not all characters segregate in this way, and 
herein comes some confusion. Some characters segregate, 
others unite or blend. In place of resembling one parent, 
the offspring resembled both in part. Again referring to 
the experiment of Barred Plymouth Rocks and White Leg- 
horns, the color of eggs laid by the female offspring of the 
cross showed a blend. The color of the Leghorn egg is 
white, while the egg of the Plymouth Rock is brown. The 
eggs from the cross averaged medium, showing the influence 
of both parents. This character, color of egg, did not act 
like the character color of plumage. In the one case there 
was a blend, in the other, segregation. In one, the offspring 
took after both parents, in the other, after one parent, 

Pure-bred not Always Prepotent. In carrying this ex- 
periment further, white cross-bred pullets from the mating 
of Barred Plymouth Rocks and White Leghorns, were mated 
to pure-bred Barred Plymouth Rock males, with the result 
that the offspring had white plumage. They took after the 
cross-bred parent, rather than the pure-bred parent. Other 
white pullets of the same cross were mated to pure-bred 
Brown Leghorn males, and out of over 150 chicks from this 


mating less than a dozen took after the pure-bred male in 
color; the balance were all white. The practical point 
brought out in this experiment is that prepotency does not 
follow blood lines, and that in mating a cross-bred or mon- 
grel to a pure-bred it does not necessarily follow that the off- 
spring will take after the pure-bred in all characters. Pre- 
potency is not always measured by length of pedigree 

While Mendelism is yet in an " embryonic " stage, and 
while confusion prevails as to its teachings in certain re- 
spects, a clue has undoubtedly been found that will lead 
the way to important developments in the future. 

Outcrossing. The term outcrossing is frequently used 
by breeders. It means the use of males from strains dif- 
ferent from those of the females, but belonging to the same 
breed or variety. It is breeding within breed lines, but not 
within family lines. If a careful system of outcrossing be 
practiced, resort to crossing will probably seldom be neces- 
sary to keep up the stamina of the breed. This is the main 
purpose of outcrossing. Another object in outcrossing is 
to improve the family or strain in some point or character 
which it may lack by introducing blood from another strain 
which is strong in the character the other lacks, 

Inbreeding. The mating together or breeding together 
of closely related males and females, is inbreeding. Where 
the relationship is close, inbreeding is the term used, but 
where the relationship is more or less remote it is called by 
many authorities line breeding. The only difference, if 
there should in reality be any difference, between inbreed- 
ing and line breeding, is a difference in degree of relation- 
ship. It is doubtful whether it would not be just as well 
to call it all by the one name, "inbreeding." 

Breeding of brother and sister together is the closest 
kind of inbreeding. Mating parent to offspring is also 
close breeding, though this is frequently called line breed- 


ing. The subject of inbreeding is a much debated one, and 
until there is a better and more perfect understanding of 
its effects the debate should continue. It is unquestionably 
a most important problem. 

There are those who steadily maintain the ground that 
inbreeding is necessary to breed improvement. It is prob- 
ably true that most of our breeds of poultry, as well as of 
live stock, were largely inbred in the making. It may be 
open to doubt whether this was not largely due to cir- 
cumstances or to the fact that in the making of new breeds 
there were not at hand two or more families unrelated by 
blood lines from which to draw upon, rather than to the 
merit of the system itself. 

It is undoubtedly true that close breeding or inbreeding 
has been a costly blunder, and it is playing with a danger- 
ous weapon when inbreeding is held up to poultry breeders 
as always desirable or necessary. It is a problem that can 
be solved only after long experiment, and it appears to the 
writer that the data is not at hand upon which to base final 
judgment. In the meantime a common-sense view should 
be taken by the breeder, which should prompt him to avoid 
close breeding and suggest that where it seems necessary to 
fix or maintain some desirable characteristics, the breeding 
together of distant relatives may possibly be practiced to 

The purpose of the breeding should be considered in 
discussing the effect of inbreeding. The evil effect of in- 
breeding may not 1*3 apparent in the form or beauty of 
the fowl, but may result in reduced vigor and lower breed- 
ing power. It may show in the egg yield, in the fertility 
of the eggs, and in the vigor or mortality of the chicks, but 
not necessarily in the type or prize-winning qualities. 
Again, it may be possible to breed a larger proportion of 
prize winners through inbreeding than by outcrossing, but 


at the same time the 'egg-laying characteristics may be in- 
jured. The explanation is that the reproductive organs, 
i.e., the egg-laying organs, are more closely related to vigor 
than is the shape or type of fowl. 

It is denied by many that a loss in vigor necessarily 
results from inbreeding. By careful selection of breeding 
stock, it is claimed, no loss in vigor will follow. Let us 

What is the Purpose of Inbreeding. It is to fix desired 
characteristics. If a superior fowl be found, one that 
possesses in a high' degree certain points of value to the 
breeder, it is claimed that by breeding her to her son her 
characteristics will be more quickly fixed in the offspring 
than would be the case by any other system of breeding. 
The points of superiority may be color of plumage, shape 
of comb, shape of body, or number of eggs laid, and various 
other points that the breeder wishes to fix. If the hen has 
proved to be a good layer, the theory of inbreeding is that 
by breeding her to her son, there will be more probability 
of getting good layers than if she be mated to a male that 
is not related to her. 

If the point bred for be color or type, it may be that 
inbreeding or line breeding will give a larger proportion 
of offspring strong in those points than would outcrossing, 
even though the males in either case be equally good in 
those points. But it is a different matter when the point to 
be bred for is one that has to do with their productive or 
reproductive qualities, because those points are so inti- 
mately related or correlated to vigor of the fowl that it is 
doubtful if the theory will hold. 

Inbreeding Experiments. Recent experiments at the 
Oregon Station indicate that the evil effects of inbreeding 
overbalance the possible good. Fowls with no apparent 
lack of vigor, and no defects in external points of shape and 


color, showed, first, in a lower fertility of eggs, in a lower 
percentage of fertile eggs hatched, and in a higher rate of 
mortality in the chickens, that there was a loss of vigor 
due to inbreeding mother to son. Second, the result showed 


A YEAR 291 
An exceptional layer though inbred. 

decreased egg yield in the pullet offspring. From different 
matings the inbred pullet offspring showed a lower average 
egg yield than other matings not inbred. 

Again, it is claimed that inbreeding tends to uniformity 


of type and that it "discourages variability." ("Prin- 
ciples of Breeding," Davenport, p. 610.) That may be 
true of type, but these experiments with fowls gave results 
in production exactly the opposite. There was less uni- 
formity in egg production from those inbred than from 
those not inbred. An inbred pullet, a daughter of hen 250 
(record 402 eggs in two years) inbred to her son, laid 291 
eggs in a year, one of the most remarkable layers ever 
produced at the Station. The same mating that produced 
this phenomenal layer (291 eggs) produced the second 
poorest layer in the flock, which laid 124. The average 
of all the inbred pullets of this mating was 181 eggs. 

The same thing was shown in the production of pullets 
of another mating, hen 034 (record 229) inbred mother 
to son greater variability and lower production than the 
other matings. The results in this case showed a high 
record of 237 eggs, and a low record of 119, the lowest of 
all the flock, the average being 187 eggs. Those of the flock 
inbred averaged 182, against an average of 219 of all not 
inbred, or 20% more. In the latter case, the highest was 
303 and the lowest 163. In the previous year, the daughters 
of 034, not inbred, averaged 210 eggs, and the daughters 
of 250, not inbred, averaged 221. In all these matings 
males from high producing hens were used. The egg yield 
from the inbred fowls while 20% lower than the others is 
above the yield of the average flock of fowls, indicating that 
a good yield may be secured by inbreeding, not because of 
it, but in spite of it. It will pay to inbreed some, rather 
than use breeding stock that are indifferent or poor layers. 
So far as fixing the character of egg production, inbreeding 
proved a failure. Not only was there lower production but 
there was greater variability in production. 

If as these experiments strongly indicate that heavy egg 
production demands a high vigor and that the reproductive 


organs of the fowl are peculiarly sensitive to inbreeding, 
then the breeder whose object is higher egg production must 
not follow inbreeding, even though it may have accom- 
plished in the way of improving type in both live-stock and 
poultry all that its strongest supporters claim for it. 



Various factors relating to environment, such as feeding, 
housing, and management, affect the egg yield, and are 
discussed in other chapters. Unless these conditions are 
favorable the egg yield will be low. It has also been seen 
that systems of breeding and mating that affect vigor in- 
fluence the egg yield. 

It is another question whether high egg-laying is trans- 


Two full sisters. Oregon Station. C119 (left) laid 241 eggs. C166 (right) 

laid 233 eggs. 

mitted from parent to offspring. This is probably the most 
important problem of all. It would seem that any doubt 
on this point could very easily be set at rest by actual dem- 
onstration, but experimenters have found the problem a 
difficult one. The actual experimental data at hand are 
not very extensive and possibly not conclusive enough to 




Two full sisters. C48 (left) laid 268 eggs. C60 (right) laid 3 eggs. 

satisfy scientific demand 
in regard to the mode 
of inheritance, if not of 
the fact of inheritance 

The breeding work of 
the Maine Station, be- 
gun by Professor Go- 
well and continuing 
nine years in co- 
operation with the 
Bureau of Animal In- 
dustry during part of 
that period, produced 
negative results so far 
as raising the standard 
of egg production of the 


271 eggs in a year. From same dam as C119 

and C166, but different sire. Note short 


flock under investigation was concerned. After a thorough 
study had been made of the trapnest records the an- 



nouncement was made in 1908 (Bulletin 157) that "there 
is no evidence of any increase in the average production 
of the flock." The average production and the number of 
fowls in the experiment are given herewith for the differ- 
ent years : 

Number of fowls Actual average 

YEAR AND PEN completing production 

the year per Tien 

1899-1900 70 136.36 

1900-1901 85 14344 

1901-1902 48 15558 

1902-1903 147 13542 

1903-1904 254 117.90 

1904-1905 50 bird pens 283 134.07 

1905-1906 50 bird pens 178 140.14 

1906-1907 50 bird pens 187 113.24 

In a subsequent bulletin (Number 166, 1909) it was stat- 
ed: " The aim so far has 
been to set forth in as 
clear and unequivocal 
manner as possible the 
definite fact that in the 
S t a t i o n 's experience 
thus far the daughter 
of a 200-egg hen is on 
the average an excep- 
tionally poor winter 
layer instead of an ex- 
ceptionally good one." 
In this case the mothers' 
average winter produc- 
tion, November 1 to 
March 1, was 55.8 eggs, 
and the daughters' 15.29 eggs per fowl. The results further 
showed that the daughters of hens laying less than 200 


Record 212 eggs. A good type of Plymouth 



eggs gave a higher winter egg production than those from 
the 200-egg hens. 

Again, in Bulletin 192 (1911), the following statement 
is made : ' 1 There does not exist any critical evidence that the 
selection of the highest laying birds on the basis of the trap- 
nest record as breeders will insure or guarantee any definite 
permanent improvement in the average flock production." 

' * It now seems quite gen- 
erally agreed," quoting 
from the same bulletin, 
"that about the only prof- 
itable function of the trap- 
nest in practical or com- 
mercial poultry-keeping is 
in connection with special 
needs or problems, as, for 
example, in the work of the 
fancier. ' ' 

The publication of these 
results was somewhat dis- 
couraging to breeders and 
provoked widespread dis- 

r>nmn TViP pritipfll rpflflpr Son of A78 21 eggs. Sire's dam 259 
CUSSlOn. J eggs. Oregon Station. 

will observe, however, that 

the failure to show an improvement in production by selec- 
tion is not put forward as proof that it is impossible, but 
only that there is no evidence in the records of that Station 
that it is. Again, in the case where the daughters of 200- 
egg hens were poorer layers than the daughters of layers 
not so good, it is not held that this result must always be 
expected, but only that " in the Station's experience" this 
was obtained. 

The statement in regard to the value of the trapnest is 
rather difficult to understand because all improvement must 




rest upon individual performance. A knowledge of indi- 
vidual performance is only possible where the trapnest is 

It seems to the writer that the extreme difference in the 
yield of 55 eggs as the winter production of the dams and 
15 eggs for the daughters, cannot be satisfactorily explained 

except upon the theory 
that environmental con- 
ditions were unfavor- 
able in the case of the 
daughters that the 
conditions surrounding 
their breeding and man- 
agement were in some 
way unfavorable to high 

mThe methods followed 
in selecting the breeding 
H stock, in the nine years' 

experiment, was to use 
only hens that had 
records of 150 eggs or 
more, and after the first 
year male birds only 
were used whose dams 
laid 200 eggs or more. 
At the Oregon Station, later experiments produced dif- 
ferent results. The records of six years' breeding work 
with Barred Plymouth Rocks are summarized on the next 

The original flock of 95 pullets were purchased from six 
different breeders. The first and second years' results have 
little significance so far as the question of inheritance is 
concerned. There had not been time enough to make selec- 

218 EGGS 

Oregon Station's first 200-egg hen. Her 
daughter and granddaughter on p. 97. 




Per cent laying 200 
eggs or more 




























tions of breeding stock on the basis of individual produc- 
tion. In the third year the pullets were from the original 
stock, except that a 'third of the poorest layers were dis- 
carded at the end of the first year. This flock of pullets, 
however, had not individual pedigrees. The fourth year 
records are not given as they were not fairly comparable 
with those of other years. In the fifth year the pullets, 
108 in number were all from pedigreed high producers. 

Laid 218 eggs. 

Laid 221 eggs. 


The average production of the dams was 202 eggs in a 
year. Their sires were from dams, one with record of 218 
eggs, the other 169. In the sixth year there were 160 pul- 
lets which averaged 176.5. Their dams averaged 187.9, 
sires' dams 219.8 and dams' dams 211.7. Hens that died 
are eliminated in the calculation for each year. 

No "new blood" was introduced during the six years, 
but inbreeding was avoided. The parent stock was selected 


Laid 259 eggs in a year. Some of her daughters and granddaughte 
shown on following pages. All of medium size and, with one exct 
are short in body. 

rs are 

each year on the basis of trapnest records, no attention 
being paid to shape or type. The breeding fowls, however, 
represented fairly well the general characteristics of the 

"Were further evidence needed as to the inheritance of 
fecundity it is brought out in the table on p. 102 compiled 
from the Oregon experiments, in which it will be seen that 
the progeny of selected high layers produced 207.3 eggs per 
hen, while the progeny of selected poor layers averaged 
138.1 eggs. Male X of unknown ancestry, mated to poor 


\ B 

C146 209 Eggs 

D84 236 Eggs 

D90 240 Eggs 

D177 268 Eggs 




D118 233 Eggs D119 209 Eggs 


A77 214 Eggs 

Three daughters on opposite page, and two granddaughters on page 102. 



layers, produced daughters 
that averaged 117.1 eggs 
each. Mated to good layers 
the daughters averaged 179.7 
eggs. The same result is 
shown in the case of the sire 
whose dam laid 218 eggs. 

Selection and Cross Breed- 
ing. - - Is the problem of 
higher fecundity a question 
of selection altogether, or is 
it a question of constitutional 
vigor alone? Does the work 
of the breeder begin and end 
with selection, or does it begin 

and end with vigor in the stock ? It is well known that many 
strains of pure breeds, due to close breeding or other causes, 
lack in vigor. It is also known that crossing two breeds or 
varieties will restore the vigor lost by close breeding, and 


D39 270 Eggs 

C58 205 Eggs D74 244 Eggs 




D52 214 Eggs D106 225 Eggs 

GRANDDAUGHTERS OF A77 (on page 100) 


Year amsla M Number Sire ' S .^ am Dauffhters Number 
first year laid 














































*Male is of unknown pedigree. 
^Two years' record. 







this is accomplished in one cross. Experiments at the 
Oregon Station showed that crossing Barred Plymouth 
Rocks and White Leghorns gave a decided increase in yield, 
but a still more decided increase was obtained by following 
up the crossing with selection. Crossing alone was not suf- 
ficient, Only by high constitutional vigor, aided by selec- 
tion, can the highest production be secured. 


Per cent laying 
Tear hens year Hig1iefit L West ^0 eggs or 

1908-09 50 106.9 183 2 0.00 

1909-10 63 135.6 211 14 4.76 

1910-11 39 149.5 257 28 15.38 

1912-13 23 218.2 303 124 69.52 

1913-14 50 223.7 278 92 70.60 

In these experiments 50 pure-bred White Leghorns aver- 
aging 106.9 eggs were crossed promiscuously with Barred 
Plymouth Rocks that averaged 84.6 eggs. The cross-breds 
in the first generation averaged 135.6 eggs. Breeding them 
back to pure-bred Leghorns the pullets with three-fourths 
Leghorn blood, averaged 149.5. In the latter flock of cross- 
bred hens, those with records averaging 208 eggs were se- 
lected for breeding. Five of them were mated to males 
from a Leghorn hen with record of 229 in her first year 
and 407 in two years. Three were mated to a cross-bred 
male of three-fourths Leghorn blood whose dam laid 402 
eggs in two years. The daughters from these matings 
averaged 218.2 eggs, one of them laying 303 eggs. In the 
next year (breeding females of the same grade were used 
three-fourths Leghorn blood, average production 385 eggs 
per hen in two years, dams' dam 402 eggs in two years. 
These were mated to a pure-bred Barred Rock male whose 
dam laid 204 eggs in one year and sire's dam 218. The 



resulting flock of 50 pullets five-eighths Barred Rock and 
three-eighths Leghorn blood averaged 223.7 eggs. 

These and other results secured by the writer at the 
Oregon Station indicate clearly not only that high egg-lay- 
ing is transmitted, but that vigor and selection are both 

D166 217 Eggs 

D34 234 Eggs 

Eggs D5 233 Eggs 



necessary if the highest results are to be secured in pro- 

It should not be assumed from, this experiment that 
crossing of different breeds is always necessary to secure 
vigor. The same result may be secured by crossing different 
strains of the same breed, in other words by outcrossing. 

Mode of inheritance. Granting that the fact of trans- 
mission of high egg-laying has been demonstrated, there 
remains the further question as to the mode of inheritance. 
Does it come about all at' once according to the Mendelian 
law of dominance and recessiveness, or is it an achievement 
that comes bit by bit after years of patient selective breed- 
ing? Is high egg production a sex-limited affair in its in- 
heritance? Is it inherited from the dam and dam alone, 
or does it come through the sire and sire alone ? 

So far as the Oregon investigations have gone, the results 
do not bear a Mendelian interpretation. They do not show 
that high egg production is either dominant or recessive to 
low production. When high producers were mated to sons 
of high producers the daughters were neither all high nor 
all low producers. Mating high producers together, the 
daughters did not equal the production of the parents on 
the average. When low producers were mated the daugh- 
ters did not take after either or both of the parents, but 
showed a higher egg production than the dams or sires' 
dams. In the one case there is a pulling down, in the other 
a pulling up to a general level. Apparently the daughters 
do not take the characteristics of the mother to the exclusion 
of the sire's mother, or the reverse. 

It appears as though high egg production is the accumu- 
lated result of the selection of high production breeding 
stock carried on for many generations. The breeder, how- 
ever, will make rapid progress in reaching the high standard 
in proportion as he is successful in identifying the excep- 



tional individuals that 
possess in a high degree 
the power of transmit- 
ting desired characteris- 
tics to their offspring. 

Is High Fecundity 
Sex-Limited. In other 
words, is high fecundity 
inherited through the 
sire alone, or from, the 
dam alone? This ques- 
tion has been the subject 
of investigation by Doc- 
tor Pearl of the Maine 
Station, and his con- 
clusions are given in 
these words (Maine Bul- 
letin 205 ) : ' ' High fecundity may be inherited by daughters 
from their sire, independent of the dam." . . . "High 
fecundity is not inherited by daughters from their dams. ' ' 


229 e 

; in first year, 786 eggs in five 
wo daughters below. Oregon 

B12 251 eggs in 1 year C551 607 eggs in 3 years 




987 eggs in five years. At beginning of sixth year had laid more than 1,000 
eggs. The greatest Icng-distance trapnest record known: first year, 240 eggs; 
second year, 222 eggs; third year, 202 eggs; fourth year, 155 eggs; fifth year, 
168 eggs. 

. . . "A low degree of fecundity may be inherited from 
either sire or dam." To state Doctor Pearl's conclusions 
in another way : High fecundity may be inherited from the 
sire, or may not. In other words, some sires will transmit 
this characteristic and some will not. Whether nine in ten, 
or one in a hundred have this power, we are not informed, 
and Doctor Pearl does not presume to know. Breeders 
therefore will not be misled into the belief that all males 
have the power of transmitting the egg-laying characteris- 
tics of their dams. Pearl, however, is definite when he says 


that "high fecundity is not inherited by daughters from 
their dams." 

The Oregon experiments which have shown a remarkable 
increase in production, with strong evidence that it was 
due to selective breeding, do not appear to show that it 
came in a sex-limited way. They show, on, the average, 
that both sire and dam exert an influence, but that the in- 
fluence is not confined to the immediate parents. It is true 
that some males, as well as females, have a greater pre- 
potency or power of transmitting fecundity than others, 
but it cannot be said, so far as these experiments have gone, 
that it comes only from "one side of the house." Table 
on p. 102 may be studied in this connection. 

Progression and Regression. The production of the 
progeny never reaches that of the parent stock when the egg 
production of the parents exceeds the average of their 
generation. There is, however, a progressive increase each 
year when the parents have been selected among the indi- 
viduals that have production records higher than the 
average of the flock. (See table p. Ill Oregon Station ex- 
periments.) This is the principle or law of progression. 

There is another principle or law operating in the other 
direction ; that is regression. There will be regression or a 
decrease in production unless the breeding stock be selected 
among the highest producers. When no selection of any 
kind is practiced, the tendency is downward. The average 
of all the ancestry is pulling backward. Selection is neces- 
sary if the breeder is to do no more than maintain the 
standard of production. He cannot "rest upon his 
laurels" without going backward. He must select and 
continue to select. 

Variability versus Uniformity. High excellence is not 
correlated with uniformity of production, as the Oregon 
experiments show (page 111). Breed improvement does 


not mean that all individuals of the flock are bred up to 
the same level of production. It is not a leveling process. 
The gulf between the high and the low individuals is not 
bridged by selective breeding. The experiments indicate 
that breed improvement, so far as egg production is con- 
cerned, means the raising of the standard of production of 
the individual. In other words, variability does not de- 
crease with improvement in production. There are fewer 
poor layers as a result of selection and more good ones, but 
the range between the high and the low remains practically 
the same. In the case of the Barred Plymouth Rocks the 
mean of production moved up from between 61 and 80 in 
the first year to between 161 and 180 in the sixth year. 
In the case of the Leghorns and crosses, practically the same 
law is shown. 

Breed improvement, therefore, depends upon raising the 
mean or average production at the same time as the maxi- 
mum production is raised. This is what happened in the 
Oregon experiments. The maximum individual production 
was raised each year while the average of the flock was also 
raised. As the average production of the flock is raised, 
the probabilities are that individual high records will in- 
crease in like manner. The true breeder, therefore, will 
ignore a fixed standard of production and breed for a pro- 
gressive increase, and no one can yet say what the maximum 
production of the hen is. (See page 111.) 

Hen's Potential Capacity. That the conditions under 
which a hen lives affect her egg yield and determine, in a 
measure at least, her degree of fecundity, is a truth dis- 
cussed elsewhere. This is supported by investigations 
made by Pearl as to the number of oocytes (eggs) in the 
hen's ovary. It is apparently not from lack of eggs or 
oocytes in the hen that the egg yield is low, for the count 



J.V C*/M L/C / t// 

ev/#s laid 








. . 






. . 












. . 












" 10 


























. . 





. . 

. . 

. . 




. . 




Total hens 


. 28 









year, White 

Leghorn hens; 


years, Crosses.) 

Number of 
eggs laid 












. . 



. . 




. . 















. . 




























. . 





. . 





. . 

. . 


. . 

Total hens 50 63 . 39 23 50 


showed in some cases, even in poor laying hens, the presence 
of over 2,000 oocytes. 

So far as the number of eggs in the ovary is concerned, 
hens are all "born" with the inherited tendency to lay. 
The lowest number in any one hen, as reported in Maine 
Bulletin 205, was 914; the greatest number 3,605. By 
using a low-power dissecting lens to aid the eye, the enor- 
mous number of 13,476 oocytes were counted in one hen's 

It should be understood that the ovary of the hen, even 
before she lays any eggs, contains all the eggs, called 
oocytes, that she will ever lay. More than that, she has 
many times more eggs than she will ever lay. Why doesn 't 
she lay them? That is the problem. Is it a lack of in- 
herited ability to lay, or is it because of improper feeding 
and care ? Is it the business of the poultryman to so mate 
his fowls that the ability to lay the greatest possible number 
of eggs will, in some manner, be transmitted from parent 
to offspring? Or is it his business to so feed and house 
the hen, in other words put her under such favorable en- 
vironment, that she will empty her egg reservoir, so to 
speak, during her natural laying life 

The poultryman who is gifted, however, with the faculty 
of using common sense, will not neglect either the breeding, 
the feeding or the care and expect to get the largest possible 
egg yield. A knowledge of the fact that the hen has a po- 
tential possibility of several thousand eggs, strongly empha- 
sizes the importance of environmental factors, in other 
words, good feeding, proper housing and care. 

Actual Limit of Production. Before the count of the 
oocytes had been made the idea was somewhat prevalent 
that 600 eggs was the limit of production of a hen. This 
theory seems to have originated with a French writer named 
Geyelin, who said: "It has been ascertained that the 



ovarium of a fowl is composed of 600 ovula or eggs ; there- 
fore a hen during the whole of her life cannot possibly lay 
more eggs than 600, which in a natural course are distribu- 
ted over nine years in the following proportion.*' 

This has been abundantly disproved by trapnest records. 
At the Utah station, prior to 1905, a number of egg records 





Laid 834 eggs in four years at 
Oregon Station. A world's record 
for four years. First year, 228 816 eggs in four years and 958 eggs in 
eggs; second year, 250 eggs; third five years. 

year, 184 eggs; fourth year, 172 

were secured exceeding the 600-egg limit in less than four 
years of laying. (Bulletin 92, by the writer.) Since then 
one hen has laid 816 eggs in five years. At the Oregon sta- 
tion the writer has secured many records exceeding 600 
eggs. ( In one case 664 eggs were laid in three years, and 
819 in four years by the same hen. In her fifth year she 
reached a total of 987 eggs. At the beginning of her sixth 
year she passed the 1,000-egg mark. Another laid 958 in five 


years. Remarkable are the records of hens, B42 which has 
laid 834- in four years, arid of B14, 827 in four years. 
If they continue in their present condition of health, all 
these hens should next year reach and pass the 1,000-egg 
mark. These are the highest authenticated four- and five- 
year records known. 

Long Distance Laying. Some idea of the possible limit 
of production is given in the following table, which records 
the egg yield of 12 sisters at the Oregon Station for three 
years : 

Hen No. First year Second year Third year Totaled 

B4 217 214 172 603 

B8 246 160 159 565 

B13 206 226 206 638 

B14 215 206 208 629 

B170 226 220 177 623 

B177 193 212 

B213 198 ' 224 230 652 

B222 188 199 231 618 

C425 235 199 

C543 291 150 

H81L 161 194 138 493 

H53N 168 196 173 537 

Average 211.1 200 188.23 593.3 

Dam's record: First year, 200 eggs; second year, 202. 
These hens laid an average of 211.1 eggs in their first 
year, 200 in their second year, and the remaining nine hens 
in their third year averaged 188.23. The total average pro- 
duction for the three years was 595.3 eggs each. The dam 
of these pullets laid as many eggs the -second year as the 
first, and it would appear that this characteristic in the 
dam was transmitted to the daughters in a noticeable 

The high limit of production is further shown in the fol- 
lowing compilation from the Oregon experiments. 








Fourth Fifth Sixth 






year year year 



















. . . . 







. . 






. . 





. . 

. . 





. . 

. . 












144 95 6 






155 168 


. . 










. . 

. . 

















215 ' 




. . 






. . 











. . 






. . 













. . 






. . 



Average 233.86 197.34 188 159.33 212.2 

Laying Longevity. The more important point brought 
out in these long distance records, however, is the evidence 
that the period of longevity, or the profitable laying period, 
may be considerably lengthened. The third year record of 
the 12 sisters 188.2 eggs is remarkably good laying for 
first year hens or pullets, and considerably higher than the 
average flock of pullets. The average or unimproved flock 
of hens does not pay for its keep after the second year when 
eggs are sold for market purposes. If by proper breeding 
this period could be lengthened to four years, it would 
mean that once in four years, instead of once in two years, 
the flock would need to be renewed, thus cutting out half 



V W V 


Cornell Supreme, 665 eggs; Lady Cornell, 648 eggs; Madam Cornell, 539 eggs 
in three years. 

of the great cost of incubating and rearing the chicks. The 
first result would be a reduction of the number of market 
chickens, as with half the number hatched there would be 
half the number of surplus cockerels and half the number of 
hens sold. But poultry producers would find a better 
market for meat chickens, the production of which would 
develop into a more specialized industry. 


Oregon Station hen CS21. Photograph 
taken day after she laid her 303d egg. The 
world's greatest layer so far as authentic 
trap-nest records show. She laid 303 eggs 
in 12 months; 512 eggs in 24 months; 679 
eggs in 36 months. 


Weight of first year's eggs 
approximately 42 pounds. 
Her three years' production. 
95 pounds. Weight of hen, 5 




The daughters averaged 250 eggs in year. 

Highest Annual Records. The table on page 120 gives 
the highest official individual records. They may be consid- 
ered world's records, so far as official reports have been pub- 
lished.* They were all secured at the Oregon Station. 

*One exception should be made. Lady Showyou (p. 121) made her 
record of 281 eggs in her second year at Missouri. 

Pedigree ofC5dl 


Flock Average 
106.9 eqqs 


Qrajon Experiment 5taf/'oa 


No. o 

First laying year (1912-13), Hen C521 303 

Second laying year (1912-13), Hen B42 250 

Third laying year (1913-14), Hen B222 231 

Fourth laying year (1913-14), Hen B14 198 

For two years (1912-14), Hen C521 512 

For three years (1912-15) , Hen C547 689 

For four years (1911-15), Hen B42 834 

For five years (1910-15), Hen A27 987 

Type in Layers. There are certain characteristics that 
are present in the good layer and absent in the poor not 
always, but on the average. 

Weight Correlated with Laying Capacity. It has been 
found that within the breed or variety the heavier pro- 
ducers on the average are those of lighter weight. Some- 
times some of the heavy hens are heavy producers, but this 
is not true of the average. At the Oregon Station a pen of 
47 Plymouth Rock hens averaged 160.9 eggs. Separating 
them according to weight into three groups the following 
result was secured : 


201 eggs first year. 





Heavy 10 

Medium 18 

Light 19 

Average weight 
1 pounds 
6 " 

First y ear t Two years 
141.1 236.1 

163.4 268.5 

173.7 293.5 

The eleven heaviest layers, those hens laying over 200 
eggs each averaged in weight 5% pounds. 

It would be a serious 
mistake, however, to 
select year after year, 
the smallest individuals 
for breeding purposes 
without regard to other 
considerations. Vigor 
and health must always 
be uppermost. Con- 
tinued selection of the 
smallest would, in the 
Leghorn breed, for ex- 
ample, finally evolve a 
Bantam type so far as 
weight is concerned. On 
the other hand, it is a 
mistake to pick out the 
nice large hens and the 
nice heavy males and 
save them for breeding, 
better send them to the 

Shape or Conformation. Much, importance cannot be 
attached to various theories regarding shape as indicative of 
laying qualities. The good layer, however, is usually 
medium to long in body, and rather deep and broad. These 
are relative terms and subject to breed differences. Em- 


White Plymouth Rock hen, laid 281 e 
in the Missouri Contest in 1911-12. 
record was made in her second year, 
wide-awake, active temperament. ' 


Weight 6 

r-H W 

.M bo 
en <U 




A122 laid 259 eggs 

A77 laid 214 eggs 

A84 laid 44 eggs 

A94 laid 20 eggs 


Masculinity is apparent in the head of the poor layers. In other words, the 
poor layer has a suggestion of a rooster head. The head is large, the comb 
coarse and the face fleshy. (Oregon Station.) 



A94 20 eggs in a year. (Oregon Station.) 

phasis is placed on these 
points as indicating di- 
gestive capacity, for the 
heavy layer must have 
good digestion. No great 
reliance, however, can be 
placed on shape of body 
as a method of identify- 
ing the good layer. 
There are good layers 
with short bodies and 
poor layers with long 
bodies. (See Page 93.) 

The truth is that hens have not been bred systematically 

for high egg laying long enough to fix or develop any par- 
ticular type as it relates to shape. 

The same can be said of the angle of the tail and the 

shape of the comb, though preference should be given to a 

rather large comb and a 

tail carried rather high. 

The head should be 

rather small, and leg 

bones not too large. In 

general make-up the 

fowl should not have 

what might be called a 

beefy build; rather, a 

trim, muscular build. A 

poor layer will usually 

have at the end of the 

laying year a better ap- 
pearance than one that 

has made a heavy rec- WHITE LEGHORN HEN 

Ord. The hen at the Laid 1 egg in a year. (Oregon Station.) 



end of the year that is 
ragged in plumage and 
wrinkled in face in 
other words, one that 
shows the effect of hard 
work is more often the 
one that has been doing 
the laying. The hen 
that looks best at the 
end of the year, in the 
fall, is not usually the 
one that should be kept 
for breeding. 

Hen Temperament. 
The poultryman who is 
a close observer will 


Laid 223 eggs. Dam laid 142; dam's 
dam, 74; sire's dam, 20. (Oregon Sta- 

D33 laid 67 eggs a good poser but D7 laid 7 eggs good looker but poor 

poor actor. layer. 




find that temperament is 
correlated with egg-lay- 
ing- qualities. The good 
layer has an active, ner- 
vous temperament. She 
moves around quickly, 
and is ' ' on the go ' ' more 
than the poor layer. She 
doesn't pose well either 
in the exhibition coop or 
before the camera. She 
will be found scratching 
and hunting for food 
after the poor layer has 
gone to roost, and she 
will usually be at work 
early in the morning. 

First Year's Production the 


302 eggs in a year; dam C516; sire's dam, 


267 eggs in a year; 421 eggs in two years. 
Note high tail and erect comb. Mother of 
E248 (302 eggs) and other good layers. 
(Oregon Station.) 

Best. Where fowls are 
kept under the same con- 
ditions each year and 
come to laying maturity 
in the fall, the produc- 
tion in the first or pullet 
year will exceed, on the 
average, the production 
of any subsequent year. 
Occasional individuals 
lay more the second than 
the first year, but this is 
exceptional. The pro- 
duction of a flock of 
fowls in the first and 
second years is shown 


Laid 44 eggs. Laid 79 eggs. 

Note heavy, coarse build. (Oregon Station.) 

Laid 104 eggs. Laid 190 eggs. 

Note the business appearance of the one and absence of it in the other. 



Winners in the British Columbia laying contest 1913-14, averaged 221.7 eggs 
in 11 months. 


Averaged 208.5 eggs in the Storrs 1913-14 contest. Owned by Tom Barren, 
England. Note absence of the blocky type demanded by the "Standard." 

on page 131. There were 43 fowls in the flock. Among 
the 21 making the best record for the two years, it is seen 
that only two of them laid less than the average of 153 in 
the first year. Among the 22 of the poorest layers for the 
second year, only five laid more than the average in the 
first year. If those laying less than 153 in the first year 
18 in number had been killed off at the end of the first 



Averaged 208.8 eggs in the Storrs 1913-14 Competition. (Owned by F. F. 
Lincoln, Connecticut.) 


Winning pen in the Panama-Pacific International egg-laying competition. 
(Owned by Oregon Agricultural College.) 

year, the average for the two years of the 25 remaining 
would be 320.6 instead of 283.5 as the average of the whole 
flock. The 18 poorest averaged in the second year 92. 
The 25 best averaged 158 eggs in their second year. 

The unprofitable hens in the first year are, therefore, on 
the average, unprofitable in the second year. Knowing 




In breeding for eggs slower progress is made in reaching the goal if various 
other points are bred for at the same time. 

the production of each hen in the first year it is good busi- 
ness to kill off the poor layers at the end of that year. 
Further corroborative data are given on this subject in 
chapter on incubation. 


At the Oregon Station for two years, showing that, on the average, the best 
layers in the first year maintain the distinction in the second. 


Measure of Hen's Laying Capacity. The egg record 
in the first three months' laying (November, December, 
January) will enable the poultryman to pick out the hens 
that will, on the average, prove to be the best layers 
during the year. If the poultryman will trapnest his 
fowls during those three months, he will find that the 
hens that lay 30 eggs or more in those months will lay 
during the year about 200 eggs. These should be kept 
for breeders. Those that lay less than 10 or 12 will, 










101 - ZOO 

OVER 00 










on the average, prove to be unprofitable, and should 
be disposed of. Those that lay 20 may make a profit. The 
above conclusions are based on the Oregon experiments, 
which are shown above in detail. 

Early Laying Maturity Characteristic. Summarizing 
the Oregon Station records, it was found that pullets that 
began to lay under 200 days of age (approximately 6^ 
months), laid on the average about 200 eggs in the year. As 
this age advanced the number of eggs laid decreased. This 
is shown graphically on page 133. "With or without the aid 
of a trapnest, the poultryman, by observing the date the 
first egg is laid, may pick out the pullets that will lay the 
best throughout the year. If the pullets have been hatched 



in March and April, and begin to lay in less than 200 days 
of age, they will prove to be, on the average, 200-egg layers. 
These should be marked and kept for breeders. Those that 
do not lay till 300 days of age should be killed off im- 
mediately or sold for market. There are exceptions, but on 
the average it works this way. 


The egg-laying organs of the hen are the ovary and ovi- 
duct. Originally eggs were laid only that chicks might be 






THAN 200 
251 300 
OVER 300 













hatched from them; in other words, the purpose was re- 
production. Later, when it was found that eggs were good 
to eat, egg-laying became a productive as well as reproduc- 
tive process. They were to be used for food as well as for 
producing young, and it would be proper to call them pro- 
ductive organs as well as reproductive organs. 

The ovary lies at the forward end of the kidney attached 
to the dorsal wall of the body cavity. The ova or eggs may 
be seen hanging like a bunch of grapes, though some are 
larger and some smaller than grapes. Some are so small 
as to be scarcely visible to the naked eye. From that they 
vary in size to the fully formed egg yolk. Each ovum or 



Average 97.2, 



These diagrams show the production of four flocks in four different years. 
Flock 4 is the pullet progeny of the best layers in flocks 1, 2 and 3. The hen 
numbers are given at the left and the eggs laid by each at the right. The 
dam is represented by the same line or symbol as the daughters, except in the 
case of the black lines, where the ancestry of pullets is not given. A son of 
034 was sire of all pullets except the daughters of 250, this hen being inbred 
to her son. 




Average .212. 2. 


These diagrams shows the production of four flocks in four different years. 
Flock 4 is the pullet progeny of the best layers in flocks 1, 2 and 3. The hen 
numbers are given at the left and the eggs laid by each at the right. The 
dam is represented by the same line or symbol as the daughters, except in the 
case of the black lines, where the ancestry of pullets is not given. A son of 
034 was sire of all pullets except the daughters of 250, this hen being inbred 
to her son. 



1. Ovary Young follicles or 
2, 3, 4 Larger follicles. 5 Ovum or 
egg yolk in upper part of oviduct. 6 
Part of the oviduct where yolk receives 
the albumen. 7 Lower part of the ovi- 
duct showing complete egg in shell gland, 
ready to be laid. 8 Anus. (Oregon Ex- 
periment Station.) 

egg is covered with, a transparent sac. A normal hen has 
more than a thousand such eggs in the ovary. All the eggs 
that a hen may lay in a lifetime will be found in the ovary, 


in size from the smallest ooycote, visible only with the aid 
of a magnifying glass, to the mature yolk ready to burst 
from its sac. It has been found under normal egg-laying 
conditions that it requires about two weeks for the egg yolk 
to grow from the size of a pea to a full-sized yolk. The 
yolk is matured in the ovary. "When matured it detaches 
itself and falls into the oviduct. 

The rest of the egg is "made" in the oviduct. This is a 
large coiled tube, whitish in color, extending from a point 
just below the ovary to the cloaca. The albumin and shell 
are put on in the oviduct. This is accomplished more 
rapidly than is the development of the yolk. The perfect 
egg with its hard shell can be retained in the cloaca a short 
time, or several hours, before being laid. 

In passing through the oviduct the egg travels about 24 
inches. It is forced through this passage by contraction of 
the oviduct. As the yolk passes into and through the ovi- 
duct it becomes surrounded by albumin, and finally by the 
shell. The time occupied by the egg passing through the 
various sections of the oviduct is estimated by Kolliker as 
follows : In the upper two-thirds of oviduct, where albumin 
is formed, three hours; in the isthmus where the shell 
membrane is put on, three hours, and in the uterus for the 
formation of shell and laying, 12 to 24 hours. 

Recent investigations by Pearl and Curtis would modify 
the above statement. (Maine Bulletin 206.) It was shown 
in their investigations that only 40% of the albumin was 
formed in the albumin portion of the oviduct; 10 to 20% 
was formed in the isthmus, or that portion where the mem- 
brane of the shell is made, and 30% to 40% of the total 
weight of albumin was added to the egg in the uterus, 
passing through the shell by osmosis. 



Various methods are followed in keeping poultry and it 
is well at the outset to form a clear conception of the busi- 
ness of poultry husbandry in its different aspects. 

Mixed Husbandry. The great bulk of the poultry and 
egg supply of the country is produced under a system of 
mixed husbandry. This type of farming constitutes the 
most promising field for increasing the production of 
poultry staples. Under present conditions poultry and 
eggs are produced at greater profit by the general farmer 
than by any other class of poultry-keepers. Poultry- 
keeping fits in well with about, any system or type of farm- 
ing. It is usually a side line, though sometimes it is the 
leading feature of the farm. The farmer may or may not 
specialize in poultry-keeping. Mixed husbandry may be 
carried on where the production of poultry and eggs is the 
leading feature and brings in the largest revenue of any 
branch of the farming operations. 

Specialization. This in poultry-keeping does not neces- 
sarily mean that the poultry-keeper must confine himself 
exclusively to poultry production. He may be a poultry 
specialist and grow the feed for his poultry and a large 
part of the food for the family. Specialization does not 
mean one-crop farming. The railroad business is a highly 
specialized business, but the railroad grows more than one 
kind of crop on its right-of-way. There is a freight crop 
and a passenger crop, and other crops, such as express, 
mail, etc. If the railroads were to specialize on passengers 
alone they would probably fail to make ends meet. 

The best poultry specialization is that which makes the 




A Petaluma ranch where cows and chickens use the same range. More than 
5,00(X laying hens and three dozen Jersey cows are kept on this farm, owned by 
T. B. Purvine. The hens' feeding troughs are fenced in from the cows, "the 
fence," as well as houses, being portable. (Two views.) 

best use of land and secures the highest profit per head of 
fowls kept. Where mixed husbandry poultry-keeping is 
followed the cost of feed is comparatively low. The smaller 
the number of fowls kept per acre the lower the food cost 
will be. The ordinary by-products of other branches of 
farming and the waste grains will be sufficient to keep a 
small flock of fowls without any apparent feed cost. 

Dairying and poultry-keeping is a good combination, the 
poultry furnishing a profitable market for the skim milk 
or butter milk. Possibly on the grain farms poultry may 


be kept at lowest cost. A combination of poultry with 
fruit growing may be successfully followed. Apart from 
the return in eggs and chickens the farm is benefited by 
the flock of poultry in the destruction of weed seeds and 
insects and in the manure furnished. The chickens often 
rid the fields of grasshoppers and other injurious insects. 
The manure from 50 fowls will maintain the fertility of 
an acre of land for the growth of crops. Poultry-keeping 
fits in well with a system of crop rotation. 

There is undoubtedly an advantage also to the poultry 
themselves, under conditions obtaining in mixed husbandry. 
The large range is conducive to health and vigor in the 
fowls. There is no overcrowding of the land and the 
danger of soil contamination is largely eliminated. On the 
general farm the best conditions are available for the health 
and vigor of the stock and for low cost of production. 
Looking at it from the standpoint of the state or community, 
the development of this type of poultry farming offers the 
surest and quickest means of bringing production of eggs 
and poultry up to the demands of the consumer. 

Examples. Examples of profitable poultry farming 
under mixed husbandry conditions may be found in any 
county, but general farms on which poultry-keeping is 
conducted on rather a large scale or as the main feature 
of the farm, are not numerous. Little Compton, E. I., and 
Petaluma, Cal., are two districts referred to more generally 
than others where extensive specialized poultry farming 
prevails. The Petaluma district is largely given over to 
extensive poultry farming and examples of the same type 
of poultry farming may be found in Little Compton, but 
the latter could hardly be characterized as a district of 
exclusive or special poultry farmers. 

A great many, if not the majority of the farms in this 
district, come more or less under the designation of mixed 



An Oregon fruit and poultry farm. N. C. Jorgensen, owner. 

A California poultry and fruit farm. Houses are portable. H. A. George, owner. 

husbandry farms with poultry production as the leading 
feature. Under those conditions poultry-keeping has been 
a profitable business for more than half a century. The 
extensive system prevails; that is, there is wide range for 
the fowls. The colony system of housing is used. The 
hatching and rearing of the fowls is done by natural means 
almost universally, and in feeding, the general practice is 
to feed a moist mash in the morning. Farm crops are 
grown to a limited extent. 


Exclusive Poultry-Keeping. This may be defined as 
that type or kind of poultry-keeping that is carried on by 
the poultry-keeper as an exclusive business in itself and 
as an exclusive means of support and profit. All the feed 
for the fowls is purchased. There are sections in the 
United States where this type of poultry -keeping has been 
carried on successfully for years. It is true, however, that 

Owners, Rev. M. C. Wire & Son, Newberg, Oregon. 

a great many failures have resulted. This branch or type 
of poultry-keeping has been more or less uncertain in the 
past but there is not now so much excuse for failure because 
the available information on the subject is more reliable 
than formerly. Exclusive poultry-keeping must not be 
gone into by the novice without experience or he is almost 
certain to fail. 

There are only certain districts or locations where poul- 
try-keeping should be made a special or exclusive business. 



Nearness to good markets and shipping points, reasonably 
cheap feed, low land cost, suitable soil and climatic con- 
ditions, are points that must not be overlooked when de- 
ciding whether to embark in this kind of poultry farming. 
These conditions being favorable, a man with the proper 
knowledge and experience, may successfully engage in ex- 
clusive poultry farming, and by giving special attention 
to the quality of the product, whether it be eggs and fowls 

Chas. G. Weaver, Los Angeles. 

for select market or breeding stock and eggs for hatching, 
he will be able to add considerably to his revenue and 
profits. It is here that a special or exclusive poultry- 
keeper has an advantage over the farmer with the small 
flock. He has enough eggs and poultry to make it a point 
to develop special markets. 

Examples of Exclusive Farms. Examples of exclusive 
poultry farming may be found in any state but there are 
few sections where any considerable area is given over to 


this type of farming. No doubt the district of Petaluma, 
Cal. ; offers the best opportunity for a study of this type 
of farming of possibly any district in the world. In this 
district a whole county is practically given over to poultry- 
keeping, and though it does not all come under the desig- 
nation of exclusive farming, a large proportion of it does. 
Different types of poultry farms are here found varying 
from the intensely intensive to the very extensive, or in 
area from an acre of ground to over 500 acres. "While 
intensive poultry-keeping is practiced the industry has been 
built up largely along extensive lines. There are also 
poultry farms of the mixed husbandry type, and combina- 
tions of poultry raising with dairying and with fruit grow- 
ing are frequently seen. 

Among the large, exclusive farms, there is much simil- 
arity in the methods or system followed. The colony house 
and free range system is almost universal either on the 
large or small farms. The success of the Petaluma district 
is doubtless largely due to this system. The house is one 
that may be easily moved by a team of horses. On some 
farms, though the houses are easily portable, they are al- 
lowed to remain for several years without moving. The 
usual size of the house is about 7 x 12 or 8 x 12 feet with 
gable roof. It is built on the box plan of construction, 
the frame consisting of runners, to which the cross-pieces 
are bolted at the ends, the plates and four rafters. The 
siding is nailed on vertically and serves to support the 
sides without studding. On some houses shingles are used, 
on some roofing paper and on others shakes. Floors are 
used in the houses on some of the best types of farms. 

As understood in Petaluma the colony system is this: 
A colony of fowls on the large farms is usually 200 hens. 
For this colony two roostmg houses and one laying house 
are provided, a section of the latter being used on many 


farms for storing feed. The different colonies are so 
widely separated that the grass is never eaten off the fields. 
The laying house is placed between the two roosting houses 
and is usually smaller than the roosting house. There is 
nothing in the roosting house except the perches, the whole 
space being used for roosting. With 100 hens in a house 
the roosting space per hen is about one square foot floor 
space. This, of course, is crowding them to the limit and 


A boy on horseback feeds the hens wheat in half an hour. Wm. Reardon, 


it is not the universal practice. In any less favorable 
climate it would not be advisable to do business on this 
basis, and even here it is very questionable whether better 
financial results would not be obtained if not more than 
75 hens were kept in the house. 

As to the system of feeding, the practice is to heavily 
feed a wet mash in the morning, with wheat in the after- 
noon. The feed troughs are fenced in if cattle or sheep 
are in the same field. 

The White Leghorn breed is almost exclusively kept. 
Larger and less active breeds would not be suited in some 
particulars to the methods followed. It may not seem 
reasonable to say that a man with 5,000 hens on a farm 



of 100 acres or even 200 acres can get better results from 
his labor by colonizing his hens all over the farm than 
the man with 20 acres and 5,000 hens closer together, but 
the poultrymen with the large farms are undoubtedly 
handling the business at better profit than those on limited 
acreage near town. The saving of steps by building houses 


There are no dropping platforms. The roost perches are pushed out at one 
end of the house, the manure scraped out the door and thrown onto a sled, 
then lime is scattered on the floor. 

close together does not necessarily lessen the labor or re- 
duce the cost of producing a dozen eggs. 

The important question is the maintenance of vigor and 
productive qualities in the fowls. Where the acreage is 
so limited that the ground is kept bare of vegetation the 
year around, is muddy in wet weather and hard and warm 
in dry weather, the conditions are more favorable for loss 




Where land unfit for cultivation is used. 

of vigor and consequent lower production. On the wide 
range it should be understood that the work of feeding is 
much simplified. For instance, on a farm of 120 acres of 
which the author has knowledge, with 6,000 hens, the after- 
noon feeding was done by a boy of fourteen in half an hour. 
He jumped on a horse at one o'clock and made the rounds of 
all the scattered colonies in that time, doing the work of 
feeding wheat by opening a self-feeding bin. Under in- 
tensive conditions greater care must be exercised in the 

S. A. Bickford, near Los Angeles. 


feeding. The problem of exercise is practically eliminated 
under the extensive free-range system. Under the inten- 
sive or yarded system more frequent feeding is necessary 
in order to induce exercise. Straw or other scratching 
litter must be furnished and the work of cleaning out the 
old straw and putting in new involves considerable labor 
and expense. The yards must be cultivated and possibly 
disinfected. Green feed must be furnished every day, 

Swanson & Johnson, near Los Angeles. 

involving expense both for the green stuff and for labor in 
feeding. The opening of gates through the yards is 

On some soils there is sufficient grit for the fowls on free 
range. This saves the expense of buying and feeding grit. 
Some animal feed will be found on free range. Under 
certain conditions there will be waste grain in stubble 
fields and weed seeds. These will lessen the feed bill. 
Again, as to equipment. There is considerable expense for 
fencing yarded fowls which is not necessary on free range. 
The increased cost for all these items under the intensive 
plan will largely offset the added labor cost of caring for 
fowls under the colony house system. 


Suburban Poultry-Keeping. As a result largely of the 
development of electric systems of railroads the keeping 
of poultry in the suburbs of cities is a type of poultry 
farming that has been making much headway in recent 
years. City people, with a love for the soil, build homes 
near electric lines a few miles from the city, and on an 

A thousand hens eating green feed, southern California. 

acre or two of ground are able to add to their income by 
keeping fowls. Where other members of the family can 
help with the work a profitable business may be done on 
an acre or two in the suburbs. With special care in the 
production of eggs and chickens of good quality accessible 
to markets, it will be possible to obtain good prices. The 
product may be delivered direct to the consumer either by 
private delivery or parcel post. If located on a good auto- 
mobile road many eggs may be sold at good prices to 



Backyard Poultry-Keeping. Chickens may be kept on 
a city lot at a profit. The waste food from the table of 

an average family, in addition 
to a little grain, will feed 
enough fowls to furnish the 
needed fresh eggs for the 
family. With good hens and 
careful attention to the houses 
and yards, a piece of ground 
25 x 50 feet will accommodate 
enough hens to produce as 
many fresh eggs as the aver- 
age family will consume, be- 
sides a considerable number 
of broilers. It must be under- 
stood, however, that the 
chickens will require daily at- 
tention throughout the year. 
The feeding must be done reg- 
ularly and intelligently and 
the premises be kept clean and 
sanitary. It is not necessary 
that a chicken yard should be 
a disfigurement to the back 
premises; a chicken yard may 
be made a thing of beauty as 
well as profit on a town lot. 
It is not necessary to make 
the chicken yard a nuisance 
ground, or dumping-place for 
old shoes and tomato cans. 
Chickens do not thrive on 
such things. The spectacle of 


Clarence Hogan, winner of a 
$100 prize in a poultry contest 
at Portland, Oregon. He was 
13 years old and finishing the 
eighth grade in school. He fed 
the chickens, cleaned their 
houses, spaded the yards for 
them, weighed the food they 
ate and counted the eggs. In 
addition to all that he was an 
editor editing a small paper and 
publishing it with the aid of a 
typewriter and a mimeograph. 
What can a boy not do? 


a chicken yard made into a dumping-ground for rubbish 
and the chickens treated as scavengers is disgusting, and 
should not be tolerated in any community. 

A nice flock of chickens properly cared for and housed, 


Miss Ruth Hayes, winner of second prize, $50. A poultry yard may be 
made an attractive feature of the backyard. 

and yarded in becoming style, may become an attractive 
feature of the vacant lot ; and besides furnishing the daily 
fresh egg, will afford a mental diversion to some of the 
older people and a pleasure to the younger members of 
the family. Young boys and young girls of the town, 
lacking something to do, will find in a flock of chickens in- 
terest and instruction. The more ambitious youngster 
will find opportunity for a study of the problems that are 
of absorbing interest to all students of plant and animal 
breeding ; for though the chicken is a chicken, it is subject 
to the same laws of heredity as are plants and livestock in 
general. Profit therefore may be realized in different ways 



from chickens on the city lot when given proper care and 

A Plan. On a piece of ground 25 x 50 feet enough 
fowls may be kept to furnish the eggs needed for an 
average family. It should not be attempted, however, on 
unsuitable ground. It is not expected that the plan submit- 

ted can be followed 
^^ under all conditions. 

HHHHB^/ ''''"' ' 1011S( ~ suggested 

m is 6 x 8 feet with a 

*B Bk I shed roof. The style 

or shape of the house 
may be changed to 
suit the tastes of 
the owner, but the 
amount of floor 


space or air space 
as provided for in 

In this house 25 hens were kept for a year. 

The hens were never out of it. They laid an the sketch should 
average of 188 eggs. 

be available what- 

ever the shape of the house may be, for 12 or 15 hens. 
At least a fourth of the side of the house should be open to 
admit fresh air. In cold sections a curtain of muslin may 
be hung over the opening at night, but this may not be 
necessary, as shown in the chapter on Housing. If there 
is not sufficient light a window may be put in the end of 
the house at a point where the maximum sunshine will be 
admitted. The illustration shows a little flat roof and it 
is covered with building paper. If shingles be used at 
least one-fourth pitch will be necessary. It will be best 
to face the house to the south to admit the sunshine, but 
it may be faced in any other direction to avoid strong 
wind, or for other reasons. (See illustration on page 156.) 


The plan shows double yards each I2y 2 x 50 feet, less the 
space occupied by the house and the small lot at each 
corner. This means there will be "rotation of crops/' 
The chickens may be rotated with the vegetable garden. 
The garden will be in one yard while the chickens are in 
the other. Chickens should not be kept on the same yard 
two years in succession. It is a mistake to crowd the yards 
beyond ability to keep them clean. The yard should be 
spaded frequently to prevent accumulation of droppings 


The original "Philo method" of close confinement. The system shown here 
entails a heavy labor cost when large numbers of fowls are kept. 

and to keep the soil in better condition for the fowls to 
scratch in. This will furnish exercise for the fowls and 
help to keep the ground in a sanitary condition. 

At the end of the house there is a small enclosure, 6x8 
feet, which may be used for hatching the chicks if it is 
desired to rear them instead of to purchase mature pullets. 
Where it is possible to purchase the pullets in the fall from 
a breeder of good laying stock at a reasonable price, it 
will be more satisfactory to do so than to continue rearing 
the fowls on the small lot to reproduce the flock. The 
layers may be kept two years and then replaced with 



The Crowing Rooster. Where the method of buying 
the pullets is followed, the rooster is unnecessary. The 
hens will lay as well without him, and the objections of the 
neighbors to chickens on account of the early morning 
crowing will be overcome. If desired to keep a male, he 
may be discouraged from crowing by placing a board or 
hanging canvass over his perch at such a height as to 
prevent him stretching his neck. A rooster in crowing 


raises his head at a considerable height, and if he cannot 
raise it the desired height there will be little crowing. 

Fancy Poultry-Keeping. Another type of poultry- 
keeping is that of breeding fancy or show fowls. It is not 
assumed that fancy or utility are not and cannot be com- 
bined, but there is a class of poultry-keepers whose chief 
business or profit is made in the production of fowls that 
excel in qualities demanded by the Standard of Perfec- 
tion in the show bird. These breeders have been called 
fanciers probably because many of the points they breed 
for and make a profit on are matters of fancy rather 
than utility. Poultry fanciers have done a good deal in 
creating an interest in poultry-keeping through the medium 


of exhibitions. The breeding of fancy show specimens is 
a business in itself, requiring special fitness, and when by 
superior knowledge and skill in the mating of fowls the 
breeder is able to produce specimens so near perfection in 
exhibition points that others are willing to pay from $10 
to $50 for single birds, he is not receiving more, probably, 
than reasonable recompense for the labor and skill ex- 
pended in their production. Prices as high as $500 and 
more have been reported paid for single birds. 

The standard followed by the fancier is not altogether 
based on points foreign to utility, but from the utility 
standpoint the fancier's standard emphasizes too highly 
many points of color and shape that have no correlation 
with useful qualities. So long as the leading poultry shows 
are judged according to this standard there will be a 
profitable business for the fancier, who has the necessary 
skill, in breeding prize-winning show specimens, even 
though he may not find a strong demand for his stock from 
the commercial poultry-keepers or farmers. 

When the fancy standard is brought more in line with 
the utility viewpoint and show birds are judged more on 
a utility basis, the fancier will readjust his breeding 
practices and produce stock that is in demand not only in 
the show room but on the commercial farm. The business 
should then be more profitable and need not lose any of 
its fascination. If this is not done a double standard will 
be needed one for the purely fancy, another for the 

A Financial Statement. The following table gives the 
actual results secured on three different types of farms in 
the Willamette Valley, Ore., in one year. Similar types of 
farms could be found in any state of the Union. 

Farm A represents that type of farming, mixed hus- 
bandry, which produces most of the poultry and eggs of 



the country, with the difference that the poultry branch 
of it is accentuated more strongly than on the average 
general farm. Farm B shows a combination of fruit grow- 
ing and poultry raising on which poultry raising is of 
nearly equal importance with fruit growing in the average 
year. This farm shows heavy production for the acreage. 
Farm C represents the exclusive or special poultry farm 

It is not assumed that these represent the best results 
obtainable on any one class of farms, but they are given 
because they show satisfactory results and at the same 
time give the necessary data for a study of different types. 


No. acres owned 307 31 24 

Value per acre $93.48 $606 $1,000 

Horses needed 7 2 1 

No. of fowls kept 300 770 776 

Estimate per fowl : 

Cost of feed $1 $1.50 $1.25 

Eggs per hen 125 140 125 

Prices received : 

Highest $0.47 $0.45 $0.65 

Lowest $0.18 $0.20 $0.27 1 /2 


Hay and field crops $1,381.20 

Animal husbandry 996 $ 10 

Dairy 300 50 

Orchard and garden . . 5,270 

Value of poultry and eggs sold . . . 839.30 2,715 $2,708 

Total $3,766.50 $8,045.30 $2,708 

Net receipts $2,077 $4,554.30 $520 

Net gain 2.944 5,379.30 1,420 

Per cent gain on investment... 8.6 19.7 5.3 




Hired labor $250 $1,000 $ 8 

Operating expense 782.50 2,716 1,288 

Total expense 1,689.50 3,491 2,188 


Land $28,700 $18,800 $24,000 

Dwelling's 1,500 2,000 500 

Other buildings 500 4,000 800 

Machinery and tools 200 500 50 

Live stock 2,914 485 670 

Peed and seed 100 50 100 

Cash to run farm 75 1,000 400 

Total $33,989 $26,835 $26,520 



Environment has much to do in the matter of getting 
eggs; that is, there is a close relationship between en- 
vironment and egg yield. "What is environment? The 
house or shelter is part of the environment of the hen. 
The kind of soil the hen ranges on or scratches in; the 
climatic conditions, rain-fall, snow-fall, wind movement, 
the size of yard or the amount of land, mode of getting 
feed, disturbing elements or noise that will cause fright, 
number of fowls in the flock, all these and many other 
things are part of the environment of the hen. If these con- 
ditions are favorable her environment is favorable for egg 

Changes in environment have had a great deal to do 
with improvement in egg-laying qualities of fowls since the 
days of domestication. This point, however, is discussed 
under breeding. Taming the wild hen, putting her under 
more favorable environment as to shelter and feeding, is 
responsible for a large part of the increase in her egg- 
laying. Probably no other domestic animal is so sensitive 
to environment as is the laying hen. A dog running past 
the poultry yards and scaring the hens, and strangers 
going into the poultry houses, will cut down on the egg 
yield perceptibly, so sensitive is the hen to her environ- 
ment. A slight disturbance in mode of living a change 
from one yard or one house to another, a change in atten- 
dant, neglect or sudden change in the feeding is reflected 
immediately in a lower egg yield. 



If the business of egg production is harder or requires 
greater skill than the business of butter production, it is 
because of this one fact the extreme sensitiveness of the 
hen to her environment. This lesson should be thoroughly 
remembered in embarking in the poultry business and 
especially in planning the poultry houses and yards. 

Changes and Progress. Probably in no other branch of 
poultry husbandry have ideas and methods changed more 
radically during the past ten years than in that relating 
to housing of poultry, and we are bound to say that the 
changes have been along the line of progress. There are 
still problems in poultry housing but they are being 
worked out surely. At the end of the last century dense 
ignorance of simple, elementary principles of housing might 
well characterize the state of knowledge on this subject. 
Not that there were not some isolated examples of proper 
housing ; there were. But there was no general agreement 
among authorities as to what constituted some of the 
essential principles of housing. There were fierce conten- 
tions on the subject but lacking actual demonstration the 
contenders got nowhere. The change of methods has 
amounted to a revolution. No one agency has been re- 
sponsible for this change, but probably without the demon- 
strations made at experiment stations there would not 
have been the progress that has been witnessed. The lesson 
has also been learned and taught by costly experience and 
experiment of practical poultry-keepers. Professor Gowell 's 
work at the Maine Station deserves strong commendation. 
Not that he discovered any new thing in poultry housing 
but he put conflicting ideas to test and by actual demon- 
stration brought poultry-keepers face to face with the 

Notwithstanding the great progress that has been made 
since the beginning of the century, the last word has not 


been said upon this subject. Progress has been made, 
though sometimes it has been made by going backward; 
and it would not be surprising if ten years from now 
some of the things now advocated are thrown on the scrap 

The difficulties come mostly from failure to understand 
the essential conditions of housing. There have been many 
costly experiments in the poultry business; there will be 
many more, no doubt, but few have been more costly than 
the experiment in housing. Fifteen years ago a great 
many poultry houses were built on the theory that warmth 
was the first essential of winter egg production. Houses 
were double-boarded and lined with sheeting paper. Even 
brick or cement houses were sometimes built. Some were 
built on the hot house plan with plenty of windows to 
admit the sunshine. The fallacy of this theory has been 
pretty well demonstrated and it is now fairly well under-- 
stood that the first essential of winter egg production, as 
well as summer egg production, is the health and vitality 
of the fowls, not warm houses. Whatever kind of house 
best meets the conditions of health and vigor is the one 
that will give the most profitable egg production. 

The following quotations taken from an early edition 
of Lewis "Wright's "Poultry Book," will be of interest 
here. It describes conditions obtaining in 1813, a century 
ago, and it points a lesson. In speaking of Scotch fowls 
it is stated: "The hens are kept in as dry and warm a 
place in the house as possible; in cottages they generally, 
during the night, sit at no great distance from the fire- 
place; the consequence is that the farmer whose poultry 
are in the night time confined in places without a fire ob- 
tain no eggs; the poor people have them in abundance. " 
Warmth is not inimical to egg laying. It is the attempt 
to make fowls warm without ventilation or artificial heat 



that is impossible. In the case of the Scotch cottagers a 
century ago the fowls were kept near a fireplace, and ven- 
tilation and dryiiess were furnished by the fireplace. 

Natural and Artificial Conditions. It is a well estab- 
lished law that domestication tends to enfeeblement. The 
fact that fowls have been under domestication two thou- 
sand years or more nullifies this law only in degree. But 
then, how is greater production secured under domestica- 
tion than in the wild state? It is secured in spite of 
domestication. The fowl is placed under more favorable 

The first and not the worst poultry house that was ever built. 

conditions for production. She is furnished a regular and 
copious supply of food. Under the wild state the food 
supply is often precarious. That is one reason why in 
spite of domestication there is high production. But it 
requires the highest skill of the feeder and the breeder to 
offset this law of enfeeblement. 

Houses and Vigor. The hardest problem in poultry- 
keeping is how to maintain the health and vigor of the 
fowls. Housing has considerable to do with health and 
vigor. Ages ago, before domestication, chickens roosted 
in trees, and they still have a little of the wild nature. 


Did you ever notice when the curfew of the poultry 
yard summons the fowls to their roost, that they usual- 
ly go to bed on the branches of the trees if there is 
one near by ? Not long ago the writer watched a flock of 
fine chickens "retire" for the night. The farmer had 
built good houses for the flock, but near the houses there 
was a giant oak tree decorated by nature with mistletoe. 
One after another the hens flew into this tree, hopping 
from one branch to another until some of them reached 


About the worst ever built. 

the topmost branches, higher than the highest barn on 
the farm. It was interesting to see the chickens nestle 
down under the mistletoe for the night while the roosts 
in the poultry houses were vacant. 

On another occasion the writer watched a flock of hens 
retire for the night where they had the choice of two 
houses. One was a sort of shed affair with one side about 
all open ; it was a fresh-air house. The other was a closed 
house with a few small holes for ventilation. About nine 
out of every ten of the hens crowded into the open house, 


though they had originally been equally divided between 
the two houses. They preferred the fresh air house. If 
there had been a tree in the yard they probably would 
have preferred that to either of the houses. 

On still another occasion the writer watched a flock of 
1,500 Leghorns go to roost. Their houses were in a cherry 
orchard, but when dusk came on the cherry trees were 
covered with white fowls while the poultry houses were 


A house 800 feet long being torn down because it proved unsatisfactory. It 
had two bad points: (1) It was built on an incline, with no tight partitions, and 
there was a strong draught from one end to the other. (2) It was too closely 
built up in front. 

practically deserted. The tree was the first but not the 
worst poultry house that was ever built. 

There are times, of course, in severe storms when chick- 
ens prefer the shelter of a roof to roosting in a tree ; but 
the lesson is, that fowls prefer the outdoor life, or the 
" simple life," and when put in close houses and com- 
pelled to live there under the mistaken notion that this 
is being good to them it is imposing conditions that will 
result in decreased vitality. Housing is really an arti- 
ficial condition for chickens and it is a serious mistake 
in poultry-keeping to follow too closely artificial lines. 


It should not be concluded, however, from what has 
been said above, that the best kind of housing for chickens 
is in the trees. It should not be inferred, either, that we 
should avoid all so-called artificial methods in poultry- 
keeping. "While housing may be an artificial condition 
for fowls, nevertheless good housing is necessary if we wish 
to get the greatest profit. In a state of nature, fowls lay 
only during the breeding season, and it is necessary in 
order to get eggs during the winter season to surround the 
hen with conditions that are more or less artificial. If 
winter egg production is an artificial condition, then we 
must resort to artificial means to induce the fowl to lay 
in that season. The danger is that we are liable to forget 
the nature of the hen and compel her to live under con- 
ditions too highly artificial. 

In a state of nature where the only purpose of egg pro- 
duction is reproduction, the hen does not lay all the year. 
The spring is the natural breeding season. A hen will lay 
in the spring under all sorts of conditions, but when eggs 
are 50 cents a dozen about the easiest way to make her 
lay is to chop her head off. Winter egg production is a 
fight against nature, against the wild nature of the hen. 
The troubles in housing poultry come from failing to 
recognize the nature of the hen, and in forcing the process 
of domestication too far. In a state of nature her wings 
answered the purpose of a house; she flew into a tree to 
get away from her natural enemies. She does it yet, 
but the enemy now is the man who builds houses that are 
as deadly as the prowling jackal of the jungle. Her wings 
were given her to escape her enemies. But we have no 
use for her wings. They cause the poultryman a good 
deal of trouble and expense. But the wings teach us a 
lesson. If the house doesn't suit, the hen will use her 
wings to get away from it. She prefers the tree to a 


poor house, and very often prefers the tree to any kind 
of a house. 

The lesson is that the hen has still a little of the wild 
nature, and when we modernize her, when we put her 
under artificial modes of living, we are liable to get the 
same result that the nation got in putting the Indian under 
conditions of modern civilization. They cannot stand it, 
not until they have been bred to it by a long process of 
selection. "We will get better results if we remember this 
fact and plan our houses accordingly. That is a condition 
that the hen imposes. 

Purpose of Housing. When we build houses for chick- 
ens we have in mind their health and comfort. We may 
be influenced in this by kindness for the fowls but more 
often by selfishness that looks for a full egg basket; that 
is, we usually build houses for fowls to make them lay 
more eggs. We may say, then, that the purpose of 
housing is to increase productiveness; poor housing will 
decrease it. 

Location of Houses. 1. Soils. Chickens will thrive on 
a great variety of soils, but certain kinds are more adapted 
than others to successful poultry-keeping. If possible, 
heavy clay soils should be avoided. They are hard to keep 
clean or sanitary. A rather light, porous soil is preferable. 
This is drier in wet weather and not as hard in dry weather 
as a heavy clay soil. A wet soil is colder than a dry one. 
The house should not be set in a mud puddle. That is as 
bad as setting it in a snow bank. It was Pasteur who 
tried to inoculate the chicken with anthrax, he did not 
succeed until he made the chicken stand in cold water. 
The temperature of the chicken was too high for the germ 
to develop, but after reducing the temperature by cold 
water on the feet and legs, he succeeded in inoculating it 
with the disease. .This will show why certain diseases 


make greater headway where the chickens are kept in 
wet, muddy yards. 

2. Drainage. If the ground selected has not good 
natural drainage, provisions should be made either by 
under-drainage or by open ditches for carrying off the sur- 
plus water. The water should not be allowed to stand in 
the yard. Muddy feet mean muddy eggs. Dampness 
means catarrh, roup, rheumatism, tuberculosis, etc. 

Sometimes the poultry house is put on a part of the 
farm that cannot be used for anything else and occasion- 
ally on a low sour soil too damp for the growth of cereals. 
Such a place should never be selected as a location for the 
poultry house. On the other hand it is possible to select 
land that is too dry. The nature of the soil undoubtedly 
has an influence on the growth and development of the 
chickens. Chickens make a more thrifty growth if kept 
on a soil that retains some moisture. A soil that becomes 
extremely dry and warm in the summer months is not the 
best. Hot sand soils, as well as clay soils that bake hard 
in the summer, do not afford good conditions for profitable 
poultry production. 

The question as to how many fowls may be kept on an 
acre of ground depends a good deal on the nature of the 
soil. Many more chickens may be kept on soil that is 
rather light and porous than- on heavy clay soil. Soil con- 
tamination will not have the same danger on the porous 
soil as on the clay soil. 

3. Air Drainage is sometimes as important as soil drain- 
age. Cold, moist air seeks the lower levels. It is better 
to locate the house and yards on higher levels, where there 
is some air movement to carry off the cold, damp air or 
prevent it becoming stagnant. Fowls should not, however, 
be exposed to high winds. You will notice that on windy 
days they mope around in sheltered corners or in houses. 


This is not favorable to high egg production. Sufficient 
air drainage, without interfering with the comfort or ac- 
tivity of the hen, is the ideal condition. The houses may 
be built on the leeward side of an orchard or in the shelter 
of buildings. A wind-break of trees may be set out where 
necessary to provide shelter. 

4. Sunshine. If possible the houses and yards should 
be built where they will get the full benefit of the sun- 
shine. Face them south unless the prevailing winds are 
from that direction. If the prevailing winds and storms 
come from the west or south the house may be faced east. 
It may even be necessary in cases to face the house north. 
In such cases windows may be put in the south side of 
the house to admit the sunshine. Sunshine is a germ de- 
stroyer and a better egg producer than red pepper or 
other condimental foods. 

5. Other Points. Other points that should be con- 
sidered in locating the houses are (a) the convenience of 
the attendant, nearness to the feed and water supply will 
save in labor; (b) building the houses away from the 
other buildings will make it easier to keep the premises 
free from insect pests and rats. 

Chickens that roost in trees have good health. They 
have constitutional vigor. They lay well except in severe 
weather. Their eggs are of good weight and hatch well. 
They very seldom have colds in coldest weather, while 
their sisters in warm houses will be running at the nostrils 
and have swelled head and ruffled feathers. 

If the greatest problem is to maintain the health and 
vigor of the flock, and hens will maintain health and vigor 
without any houses, why then are houses needed for fowls ? 
It is true that hens usually prefer to roost in the trees 
rather than in the houses. 


Protection from Cold and Storms. A good poultry 
house should afford protection from storms and severe 
weather. A little shelter from the winds and the storms 
will add to the comfort of the fowls and therefore to the 
egg yield. A cold wave or a sudden change to colder 
weather, means an immediate demand for increased fuel 
to keep up the heat of the body. In this case the fuel is 
the food that the hen eats, and the food that has been 

Reardon Farm, Petaluma. 

going into the making of the eggs will be drawn upon for 
fuel purposes. It is the food that furnishes the heat of 
the body as well as the material for eggs. Any shelter 
therefore that protects fowls from storms or sudden 
changes in temperature is an incentive to egg production. 
Fowls maintain rugged health roosting in trees, but sudden 
and frequent changes in the weather to which they are 
subjected in the trees interfere with egg production. 

Storms More Objectionable than Cold. In most 
sections under most climatic conditions fowls will spend 
their nights in the trees in preference to the best poultry 


houses. Severe storms driving snows or heavy rains 
will send them into the house. It is the storm more than 
the cold that the hen objects to. In a scratching shed 
where the fowls are sheltered from the wind the hen will 
sing and keep busy all day with the temperature at zero; 
but hard winds, even on a summer day, will drive her from 
her picking and bug hunting in the fields to the leeward 


side of the poultry house, where she will stand humped up 
and look as though she did not care whether school kept or 
not. In other words, you can keep the hen busy at a low 
temperature if she is sheltered from the winds and storms. 
Feathers will keep out cold but will not keep out wind. 

On one occasion I watched several thousand hens at 
Petaluma hunting the shelter of fences during the middle 
of the day to escape the strong breeze that was blowing 
from the coast, though the day was otherwise nice and 
sunshiny. It is shelter rather than warmth that the 
house should furnish. If the proper shelter be furnished 
the hen will take care of the heating apparatus. All notions 
of the warm house should be abandoned, and a shelter 
built. This does not mean that warmth is injurious to 
health and vigor. Fowls maintain good health in the/ 


warm months. As the winter departs and the warm spring 
days come, the hen is at her best, her comb is the reddest. 
Nor does it mean that warmth is inimical to egg produc- 
tion. In the writer's experiments at the Utah Station a 
little artificial heat increased the egg yield (Bulletin 102), 
but it was apparently at the expense of vigor, for the 
fowls in the cold house weighed heavier than those in the 
warm house at the end of the winter. A proper system 
of artificial heat may stimulate egg production, but an 
economical, and safe system has not yet been found. 

Ventilation is secured by slatted shutter and by opening windows. 

A warmly built house cannot be made warm and com- 
fortable without artificial heat in cold weather. Let us 
see. To make it warm the practice has been to double 
board it. It is tight boarded on each side of the studding, 
and under the boards there is building paper to make it air- 
tight. Then glass windows are put in to give light and 
sunshine, and there must be double windows also. If the 
hens are to have fresh air there must be openings in the 
walls to let in fresh air and when fresh air is let in cold 
air comes in. A double wall of that kind, even without 
the ventilation, will not keep out the cold. It will keep 
it out a little longer than single walls; the changes in the 


temperature may not be felt so soon inside the warm 
house; but there is something else that makes houses cold. 
The thermometer does not always tell us how cold we feel. 
It does not always tell us how warm we feel. Dampness 
in the air in the summer intensifies the heat. 

A house cannot be both warm and dry in cold weather 
without artificial heat. "Why? During the day the sun 
strikes through the windows and raises the temperature 
inside. At night the heat will escape through the glass. 
The temperature will fall rapidly at night. There will 
be a great difference between night and day temperature. 
Now, warm air holds more moisture than cold air. During 
the day with a high temperature the air will be relatively 
dry ; at night it will be relatively damp though the same 
amount of moisture may be in the air. If the temper- 
ature falls low enough the moisture in the air will con- 
dense on the walls. Moisture or frost on the walls indi- 
cates that the air in the room is as damp as it can be ; in 
other words it is totally saturated. It also means that the 
house is cold, otherwise it would not condense. A warm 
house that is at the same time dry in cold weather without 
artificial heat, is an impossible proposition. 

A damp house is a cold house. Chickens can stand cold 
air, but not cold damp air. By opening the windows 
during the day we keep down the temperature of the 
house and this keeps the air drier. Dampness on the 
walls indicates that the air is damp, not that the walls were 
damp. The moisture in the air condenses on the cold 
walls. Dampness is taken out of the air and put on the 
walls. The moisture was taken into the air during the 
day when the temperature went up, and at night as the 
temperature falls the capacity of the air to hold the 
moisture decreases and is condensed on the walls. With 
more ventilation this moisture would escape. "With such 


a house the thing to do is to keep the temperature down 
during the day equalize the temperature more between 
night and day by opening the doors or windows and you 
will add to the comfort and health of the fowls. 

A knowledge of this fact shows at once how futile it is 
to build double walls and put in double windows with the 
idea of making the house comfortable; it shows also how 
we may save about half the cost of the building. It means 
a saving in cost of building as well as in the condition of 
the fowls and in the egg yield. 

We have not found that we can keep enough fowls in a 
house to keep its temperature up perceptibly. Horses and 
cattle keep a stable warm from the heat of their bodies, 
but we cannot crowd enough chickens into a poultry house 
to keep it at the same temperature of the horse and cattle 
barn and expect the fowls to maintain good health. This 
shows that the poultry house must have greater ventilation, 
must furnish more fresh air than is required in the cow 
barn or in the living room of human beings. There must 
be a more rapid change of air in the poultry house than 
in the horse stable, and if we keep exchanging the air 
rapidly enough by means of ventilators or open windows, 
there will, of course be little difference between the tem- 
perature of the house and the temperature outdoors. "We 
must have plenty of ventilation, and we cannot expect to 
keep the house warm from the body heat of the fowls. 

The attempt, therefore, to reproduce spring in winter, 
or to make the hen imagine in mid-winter that the natural 
laying and breeding season is upon her, by building warm 
houses, has not been a success. The failure is due to the 
wide range of temperature in them. The "warm" house 
is a hothouse during the day and a refrigerator at night, 
unless artificial heat be used. A so-called warmly built 
house is unreasonable without artificial heat, and artificial 


heat, in our present state of knowledge, is also unreason- 

Ventilation. A good poultry house should be well ven- 
tilated. Fowls require considerably more fresh air than 
farm animals. It has been estimated that a hen, in pro- 
portion to her weight, requires double the weight of oxygen 
that a man or a horse requires. The amount of air 
breathed per thousand pounds live weight of hens is given 
by King as 8,272 cubic feet in 24 hours ; the requirements 
of a man being 2,833 and a cow 2,804 cubic feet. 

Experiments at the Wye (England) Agricultural Col- 
lege showed that the health of the fowls bears a close re- 
lation to the amount of carbonic acid gas in the house. 
It was found that air in houses with proper ventilation 
should not contain to exceed nine volumes of carbonic acid 
gas to ten thousand volumes of air. The ordinary air in 
country districts contains about three parts. It would be 
impossible to arrange ventilation so that the air in the 
poultry house would be as pure as that of outdoors, but 
from the experiments quoted it is safe to assume that 
nine parts or under is not injurious. 

When we speak of air being impure we think of the 
carbonic acid gas in it, yet this gas in itself is not poison- 
ous. It is harmless, but associated with it is some other 
impurity, the exact nature of which is not known, that is 
poisonous. The presence, however, of carbonic acid gas 
is a sure indication that the air is impure. 

Ventilation, therefore, resolves itself into a question of 
maintaining a low carbonic acid gas content in the poultry 
house. The more and larger the openings in the house, 
the more rapid the exchange of air and the lower the 
carbonic acid gas content. Reducing the number of fowls 
in the house decreases likewise the carbonic acid gas. 
Again, weather conditions will influence the amount. In 


cold weather there will be necessarily a more rapid ex- 
change of air than in warm weather. Likewise high winds 
will decrease the amount bv causing a greater circulation 
of air. 

Methods of Ventilation. Elaborate ventilation systems 
are not called for in poultry house construction. Usually 
the cost of such systems precludes their use by the practical 
poultry-keeper. For the larger portion of the United 
States the best condition of ventilation will be secured 
by leaving one side or one end of the house open. 

Open-Front House. In sections where the temperature 
gets no lower than zero the open-front furnishes the best 
method of ventilation. This much is beyond controversy. 
By open front is here meant a house with one side en- 
tirely open where the fowls roost practically in the open 
air. There is, however, a problem as to how low a tem- 
perature fowls will stand and maintain a satisfactory egg 
production. Ordinarily zero temperatures will not injure 
their health, because fowls roost in the trees all winter 
and maintain good health and vigor, but when the tem- 
perature reaches a certain degree of cold, egg production 
will be cut off. It is a question of the happy medium, and 
there is a lack of definite information as to the lowest 
temperature in the open-front house at which fowls may 
be profitably kept. 

Fowls, however, that roost continuously in a cold house 
become hardy and stand low temperatures better than 
those that have been accustomed to warm quarters. Fresh 
air furnishes the necessary oxygen to keep up the heat of 
the body. The more pure air in the roosting room the 
better will the fowls be able to stand the cold. It may 
further be said that this method of ventilation will be 
better in any section, north or south; will give better re- 
sults both in egg production and in health of fowls, than 



that type of ventilation which is found in houses that have 
more warmth but less pure air. 

Curtain-front House. The curtain-front house has also 
been used successfully in cold climates. Instead of leaving 
the front of the house open at all seasons adjustable cur- 
tains of muslin or burlap are used. They are closed at 
night as necessary during the winter. The objections to 
the adjustable curtain are, first, that it may not admit 
enough air, and second that it requires nightly attention 


in cold weather to adjust it. There is the further disad- 
vantage that it may be closed or open when it should be 
the reverse, as the temperature or weather conditions in 
the evening do not always indicate what they may be 
before morning. In other words, it may be necessary to 
close the curtain in the evening but not necessary toward 
'the morning, or the reverse. It will be better in cold 
climates to keep the curtain closed continuously during 
cold weather. "When this is done there should be win- 
dows in the house to admit light and sunshine. 



Adjustable Open-front House. The wide open-front is 
impracticable in sections where the temperature gets much 
below zero. On the other hand, the curtain-front is im- 
practicable for reasons stated. The curtain may be elimi- 
nated by using a modified form of open-front. By de- 
creasing the size of the opening, the same purpose will be 
served as by covering the larger opening with canvas or 
burlap. In a section where the minimum temperature is 
zero, one side of the house may be practically all open. 
In such a climate sufficient ventilation for fifty fowls will 


be obtained by an opening 3x8 feet or 24 square feet of 
opening equal to about one-half square foot per fowl. In 
colder climates, with a temperature of 20 below zero, the 
opening may be decreased to a fourth or a fifth the size. 
A small opening in a cold climate will give better venti- 
lation than a larger opening in a warm climate. In sum- 
mer the opening should be larger than in winter. 

Space Required per Fowl. When poultrymen estimate 
the capacity of their poultry house on the basis of so many 


square feet of floor space per fowl, they are figuring on an 
insufficient basis. A few years ago it was enough to know 
that 8 or 10 square feet of floor space had given good re- 
sults and half that poor results ; therefore the fowls must 
have 8 to 10 square feet of floor space. That conclusion, 
however, was based on the warinly built, double-boarded, 
poorly ventilated house. Now the capacity has been in- 
creased by putting more openings and more ventilation into 
it, and the fowls do as well with 4 square feet of floor space 
as they did with 10 square feet in the old houses. The rea- 

Showing portable open-front houses. 

son is that there is a more rapid exchange of air, or more 
fresh air in the former than the latter. The capacity of the 
house, therefore, should be measured rather on a basis of 
purity of the air in it than by the amount of floor space. 

In the "Wye experiments it was found that in the winter 
months with the temperature near zero a house 7% x 7 l / 2 
feet and floor space of l 1 /^ square feet per fowl gave good 
results when ventilated well. The carbonic acid gas varied 
in the tests from 4.8 to 8.5 parts by volume in 10,000, the 
latter result being on a still day. The air changed in this 
house about four times an hour. It was concluded that 
about 10 cubic feet of air space and 1% square feet floor 



space in a house with proper ventilation are essential, and 
that the carbonic acid gas content should not exceed nine 
parts in 10,000 by volume. 

The capacity, however, of any particular house must not 
be determined absolutely by a standard of air purity. It 
must also provide sufficient space for the activity or exer- 
cise of the hen. Where there is little or no snow, or where 
the chickens can be out of doors every day in the year, about 
2 square feet of floor space per fowl will be sufficient. This 


Showing portable open-front houses, portable fencing and double yards. 

will apply to flocks of twenty hens or more. For smaller 
flocks a more liberal allowance of space should be made. 
"Where the climate is such that the fowls will seek shelter 
part of the year rather than go out of doors in the yards 
and fields, 4 to 5 square feet per fowl should be provided. 
The house should be built high enough for a man to work 
in without bumping his head. The height will allow suffi- 
cient air space for the fowls. 

The Final Test of a House. The egg yield is the best 
test of the merits of a poultry house. The completeness of 
the egg records in different houses may well form the basis 


for a study of the relative merits of different kinds of 
houses. A profitable study may be made of the housing 
used where high egg records have been secured. 

The Australian laying competitions conducted at the 
Hawkesbury Agricultural College for a number of years 
have produced very high records. The houses used were 
small, being 11 feet long and 6 feet wide, divided into two 



At the Utah Station the temperature reached 12 below zero and the Leghorns 
shown in the picture escaped without injury to their combs. 

pens for six fowls each. This is equal to 5^ square feet 
floor space. The outside yards were 87 x 17 feet. During 
the winter the front of the house was closed up, and there 
were wire openings at the bottom of the back of the house 
and at the top. The fowls had more yard space than is 
usual under intensive methods. Here we have a small 
house with open front in which records averaging over 200 
eggs per fowl were secured. The climate is mild there, some- 



what similar to some of the Southern states and to certain 
portions of the Pacific coast. 

At the Utah Station excellent records were secured under 
more intensive conditions. The house was 100 feet long 
and 10 feet wide, divided into pens 5x7 feet, leaving an 
alley at the back. The outside runs were 5 x 40. There 
was a glass window in each pen which was opened during 


This shed is an advantage where house room is limited. The ventilation^ in 
this house is secured through the door, which is covered with poultry netting 
only, and between the plate and roof at the rear. 

the day except during severe cold weather. Here with 7 
square feet floor space and 40 feet yard space, one pen 
averaged 201 eggs, and individual records as high as 241 
were secured. At the Oregon Station the portable colony 
house has been used exclusively. This house is 8 x 12 feet 
with open front. A pen average of 212 eggs from 40 fowls 
was secured, with an individual record of 303. The yard 
space was about 150 square feet per fowl, the house being 
moved once during the year on to another yard of equal 


Iii the Missouri laying competition, a well-ventilated, 
small house was used. In this house Lady Showyou made 
her remarkable record. The Storrs laying competition 
house is also a small, separate house. In this house Tom 
Barron's Leghorns and Wyandottes made their great re- 
cords. The highest record secured at Cornell University, 
that of Lady Cornell, was made in a small house. At the 
Ontario Agricultural College the best records were made in 
a small house. 

It is thus seen that good egg yields have been secured in 
houses of different construction. Namely, in long, con- 


In this shed a pen of two-year-old Leghorns were housed for a year. One of 
them laid over 200 eggs. Lowest temperature about zero. (Oregon Station.) 

tinuous houses, and in small colony houses of different 
types. All of the houses, however, have been either open- 
front or curtain-front. As between the continuous or long 
house and the small or colony house, while good records 
have been secured in both, most of the good records, 
and all of the high records, have come from colony or small, 
separate houses. 

Hatching Quality of Eggs as Affected by Housing. 
The kind of house and the conditions of housing have a 
marked influence on the fertility of the eggs and their 
hatching quality. The hatching quality of the eggs is even 


more dependent upon good housing conditions than is the 
egg yield. A system of housing may be, in a measure, suc- 
cessful so far as egg yield goes, but it may be a failure when 
it comes to securing eggs of good fertility and that will 
produce chicks of good vitality. The poultryman may be 
successful in getting eggs, but fail in getting chicks and in 
the business of reproducing his nock. Under some systems 
of close confinement in houses he may get a satisfactory 
egg yield if he puts into the house fowls of strong vitality, 


but the chances are that the breeding or hatching quality of 
the eggs will not be as good as where the fowls have wide 

It is practically impossible to make a permanent suc- 
cess of poultry-keeping where the fowls are confined in 
houses all the time if the eggs from the same stock are used 
for breeding purposes. If it is desirable to confine laying 
stock in such houses the layers should be produced by 
breeding stock kept under more or less free-range condi- 
tions. The natural tendency to enfeeblement under 



domestication asserts itself more clearly and strongly in the 
breeding qualities of the fowls than in their laying qual- 

The Floor. Floors are not always necessary nor desir- 
able in poultry houses. "Where the ground is inclined to 
be damp, a floor will be an advantage, but where it is well 
drained and porous there need be no floor. Fowls prefer to 
scratch on the ground rather than on the floor. A wooden 
floor gives protection for rats underneath, and for this rea- 
son a cement floor is preferable. Where an earth floor is 
used it should be higher than the ground outside the house 
to prevent water running in. It is a good plan to fill the 
floor with 6 or 8 inches of clean, coarse sand and once a year 
or oftener take off part of this and replace it with clean 
sand. This will keep the floor comparatively clean and 

The Roof. There are three types of roofs generally 
used, namely, the shed roof, the gable roof, and the combin- 
ation roof. 

Shed Roof. Practically the same amount of material 
will be required for each style of roof, if the ground plan 
and the air space con- 
tent of the house are 
the same. There 
will be a little less 
labor in constructing 
the shed roof than the 
others. The type of 
roof used will depend 
mainly on the width of 
the house and the pitch 
of the roof. If shingles 


are used, a comparative- HOUSES 

ly Steep roof mUSt be Two such boxes used in making this house. 


made, about one-third pitch. If roofing material is used 
instead of shingles, a roof nearly flat may be made. An- 
other advantage of the shed roof is that the rain drains 
off at the back of the house. This will obviate much 
of the mud, caused by the dripping from the roof, without 
the use of eave troughs. 

A shed roof house may be made as much as 14 feet wide. 
For a house of that width to be shingled a gable roof of 
one-third pitch should be used. In most sections the cost 
of the roof will be lessened by making it comparatively 
flat and covering it with roofing material. In sections 
where shingles are cheaper there will be little difference in 
the cost between the shingles and a good quality of roofing 
paper. The cost of laying the shingles, however, is greater 
than for laying the roofing paper. Heavy tar or rubber 
roofing should be used. A good shingle roof is the most 
durable type of roof, though roofing papers are now made 
of good quality. It takes 750 shingles for each square of 
100 square feet, laid 5 inches to the weather. A man can 
lay about 3,000 to 6,000 shingles a day, the latter by an 
expert shingler working on a large roof. 

Foundation and Floor. Where a permanent or station- 
ary house is to be built, it will pay to put in a good foun- 
dation. Either brick, stone or concrete may be used, de- 
pending mainly on the cheapness of these materials. 



Poultry houses may be divided into two classes : 1, port- 
able houses; 2, stationary houses. 

Portable House. The portable house is used where the 
colony system prevails. Much of the trouble from diseases 
comes from keeping the chickens on the same ground year 
after year. By keeping them on clean ground, which is 
possible with portable houses, they are under natural and 
hygienic conditions. This system, moreover, fits in with a 
system of crop rotation on the farm. About fifty fowls to 
the acre will keep the land in high fertility. Besides, the 
chickens will find a considerable portion of their food in 
the waste grain and weed seeds, grasshoppers and other in- 
sects. They often rid the farm of grasshoppers and other 
injurious insects, thus saving valuable crops. Another im- 
portant advantage of the colony house system is the fact 
that the fowls are more active when they have the liberty 
of fresh fields than when confined in yards. Finally, with 
the colony system there is no expense for fencing. "Where 
fowls are kept on an extensive scale this system is un- 
doubtedly the best. 

While the advantages of the colony portable house are 
more apparent in sections where there is little or no snow- 
fall in winter, they may also be used where the snow covers 
the ground in northern sections several months during the 
winter. In such cases it is usually advisable to pull the 
houses near together to avoid the inconvenience of the deep 










snows. When the snow covers the ground and the fowls 
have not the use of the range, being practically confined to 
the house, they will do just as well when the houses are 
brought together. 

Stationary House. "Where little land is available, sta- 
tionary houses may be used. The portable house, shown 
on page 193 may serve as a stationary house for a small 
flock. For larger flocks either a long, continuous house 
may be used, or small, separate houses. The separate houses 
may be placed in a row 40 feet apart. By this arrangement 


Built by A. F. Hunter, at Abington, Mass. The curtains are shown in the 
second pen. This is a modification of the scratching shed-house of which Mr. 
Hunter was the originator. 

the yards may all be on one side of the house, and one can 
walk or drive a team on the other side from one end to the 
other without opening of gates. Another advantage of this 
arrangement is this: by having every other yard vacant 
the trouble from males fighting through the fence is avoid- 
ed. Another advantage is that there is less danger of con- 
tagious diseases spreading from one flock to another than 
in the continuous house ; every flock is practically isolated 
from the other. 


Keeping large flocks in a long, stationary house requires 
less time for the feeding and caring for the fowls than in 
portable houses scattered widely apart over the farm. It 
does not necessarily follow, however, that the advantages in 
this regard are all in favor of the long, stationary house. 
The profit in the business does not hinge altogether or 
mainly on the convenience of the attendant or on the 
amount of time necessary to do the actual work in feeding 
and caring for the fowls. The final result must hinge rather 
on the results or on the returns in egg yield from a given 
amount of labor. 

The portable house and free-range system is most con- 
ducive to health and vigor in the stock, and in the long 
run the financial results must be decided in favor of the 
system most favorable to vigor. A man may care for more 
fowls in a long, stationary house than under the free-range 
colony house system, but in a series of years will there be 
greater return in egg yield from his labor than from the 
labor of the man who keeps his fowls under the exten- 
sive free-range system? The greater risk from loss of 
vigor, from death, from contagious disease, from lower 
fertility of eggs, and greater mortality in the chicks makes 
it certain that in ten years, more or less, there will be a 
greater return from the labor on the colony free-range 

It is possible that under certain conditions of soil and 
climate the long, stationary house system may be successful 
for a long term, such as in sections of maximum sunshine 
and on porous soils. The sunshine will ward off many 
bacterial diseases which would be more common where there 
is not very much sunshine. Again, in a very porous soil, 
soil contamination has not the same dangers as in heavy 
clay soils. The poultryman who uses stationary houses and 
follows the intensive system must utilize to the utmost tho 


assistance of the sunshine in warding off diseases which in 
many sections of the country have followed in the wake of 
intensive poultry culture. 

Cultivation of Yards. If the intensive system be used 
it is imperative that it include a system of cultivation or 
crop rotation. To allow the fowls to run in large numbers 
on the same ground, year after year, without any cultiva- 
tion and growth of crops will result in certain failure. The 
cultivation and cropping of the yards will keep them in 
good condition. The crops will use up the manure and 
lessen the danger from spreading of disease. The cultiva- 
tion also keeps the surface of the soil loose; unless culti- 
vated, some soils of a clayey nature will, from continuous 
use, become hard and packed. The expense of building the 
extra fence for the double yards will be offset by the value 
of the crops that may be grown on the vacant yards. Cul- 
tivation has a double purpose; first, it cleans the yards; 
second, it offers the fowls more exercise. Whether it will 
require cropping every year or every other year, or twice 
a year, will dep'end first on the nature of the soil; second 
on climatic conditions, and third on the number of fowls 
kept on the ground. The control of tuberculosis is render- 
ed comparatively easy by crop rotation and keeping the 
fowls off the ground for six months each year. 

Capacity of an Acre. A light, porous soil has a greater 
capacity for fowls than a heavy soil or a damp soil. At the 
Oregon Station on clay soil it was found that the day drop- 
pings from 200 laying hens on an acre in four years made 
the soil too rich for the successful growth of cereal crops 
where cropping the ground was done every other year. The 
night droppings were put onto other land. If the soil con- 
tains too much manure for the crops it is safe to assume 
that it is not in the best condition for poultry. Sooner or 
later it is bound to show not only a failure of grain crops 


but failure of poultry crops. For a permanent system 
under average conditions of soil and climate the following 
points are suggested for consideration. 

1. Maximum number of fowls per acre : 100 laying hens. 

2. Disposing of the night droppings on other land. 

3. Dividing the ground into at least two divisions or 
yards, and growing a crop on each yard at least every 
other year. In sections where crops may be grown every 
year the maximum number of fowls may be increased. 

4. Growing crops that will use up the maximum amount 
of manure. 

5. Keeping the ground vacant at least six months in the 

6. Thorough underdrainage, where necessary, to carry 
off surplus water. 

The above points are suggested as worthy of careful at- 
tention where more or less intensive poultry-keeping is to 
be followed and where the location is expected to be a per- 
manent one. It cannot be assumed that they will be appli- 
cable or practicable under all conditions of soil and climate. 
But under average conditions of soil and climate they af- 
ford a safe basis of estimating the capacity of an acre in a 
permanent system of poultry culture. It is not assumed 
that as many as 500 hens may not be profitably kept on an 
acre for a few years under favorable conditions. It has 
been done, but it is a different matter when it is planned to 
make a permanent business of it. 

Crops to Grow. Different kinds of crops or vegetables 
may be grown on the vacant yards. Green food may be 
grown for the fowls, or vegetables may be grown for the 
family. The droppings of the fowls will keep the soil in a 
very productive condition. If it is not desired to use the 
yards for garden purposes, such crops as vetch, clover, kale, 


rye, etc., may be grown. Where it grows well, clover may 
be sown early in the spring and the chickens turned on 
it in the fall. Vetch sown in the fall will furnish a great 
quantity of excellent green food in the spring and summer. 
Where it thrives, probably no other forage plant will fur- 
nish more green food per acre than the thousand-headed 
kale. If planted early in the spring, it will furnish a 
great quantity of green food in the fall and following 
winter. Eye sown in the fall will make considerable green 
food in the following spring and summer. 

NOTE. In a personal letter to the writer Edward 
Brown says: "For those who keep their fowls within 
restricted areas, I believe we shall have to come to a 
four-course rotation, fowls being one part to three others, 
by which is meant, supposing we have four acres of 
land divided, the fowls shall occupy one acre only each 
year and no more, the three vacant lots being culti- 
vated. In some cases the three-course rotation has been 
tried, but that does not seem to get rid of the manure 
completely. However, it is a question of experiment 
and therefore your observations are very important. " 

Portable Colony House. A good size for a colony house 
is 8 x 12 feet. A team of horses will pull a house of this 
size and it will accommodate from 30 to 50 fowls. Thirty 
to 36 fowls will be enough in northern states, where the 
fowls have not the liberty of outdoors all the time. This 
house is built on runners and may be moved several times 
a year. It will cost to build, about $15 for lumber, $5 for 
hardware and paint, and $10 for carpenter work, the cost 
varying in different localities as the prices of material 

On page 177 is shown the kind of house used at the Oregon 


Station up to the fall of 1913. If the proof of the pudding 
is in the eating, this Louse has been satisfactory. An aver- 
age of over 200 eggs per hen has been secured in this house 
with a flock of 40 hens, and it was in this house that hen 
C521 made a record of 303 eggs in a year. 

Improved Oregon Station House. This house, how- 
ever, has been modified with the idea of furnishing a still 
more copious supply of fresh air. A study of conditions 
led to the opinion that the exchange of air at night in the 
roosting end of the house was not rapid enough for the 
number of fowls in the house. For thirty fowls the ven- 
tilation is ample, but for forty or fifty it was decided that 
the fowls were too close together to avoid re-breathing the 
exhaled impure air. It had been noted that several of the 
highest record hens at the Station had roosted close to the 
door on a step up to the trapnests. Hen C543, with a 
record of 291 eggs ; C508, with record of 268 ; A122, with 
record of 259, and a number of other high-record hens had 
formed this habit of roosting at the open door instead of 
back among the other fowls on the perches. This was roost- 
ing practically in the open air so far as fresh air was con- 
cerned, and it might lead to the inquiry as to whether 
fresh air is not, in itself, a good egg producer. 

The improved colony house is shown on page 178. In 
the cooler parts of the north or where the temperature gets 
down to zero and snow covers the ground two or three 
months of the year, and for 30 to 35 fowls, the house with 
the end open instead of the side is probably preferable, 
because where the temperature is lower there will be natur- 
ally a more rapid exchange of air. In warmer sections the 
house with the side open instead of the end is to be pre- 
ferred. In this house single walls are used made of rustic 
siding. Trapnests are placed under the dropping platform. 
Nests may be placed at the end wall of the house, in which 


case the roosts and platform should be lowered 10 or 12 
inches. A three-quarter inch hole is bored through the 
ends of the runners. Bolts are placed through these holes and 
a chain attached for moving the house. A team of horses 
pulls the house. No curtains are used. The opening and 
door are covered with 1-inch mesh wire. The dimensions 
and bill of lumber and hardware follow: 

8 FT. X 12 FT. 


2 3x6 14 feet long runners. 

2 4x4 8 feet long sills. 

5 2x4 8 feet long sills. 

14 2x3 5 feet long studs. 

4 2x3 7 feet long studs. 

2 2x3 8 feet long studs. 

3 2x3 12 feet long plates. 
14 2x3 6 feet long rafters. 

8 2x3 12 feet long nest frames, etc. 

2 2x2 12 feet long roosts. 

3 2x2 3 feet long roost supports. 

175 board feet 8 inch ship lap for flooring and dropping 

125 board feet 6 inch roosting boards and slats for dropping 


260 board feet 8 inch channel rustic siding No. 2. 
1,250 shingles. 

4 1x4 corner boards, each 6 feet long. 

4 1x3 corner boards, each 6 feet long. 

5 1x3 door and door opening, each 12 feet long. 
2 1x4 14 feet long cornice finish. 

4 1x4 6 feet long cornice finish. 
1 1x3 14 feet long ridge board. 

1 1x4 14 feet long ridge board. 

5 1x4 16 feet long miscellaneous use. 

1 1x2 14 feet long stops for oil-can nests, 


6 Ibs. 8D case. 
10 Ibs. 8D common. 

3 Ibs. 16D common. 

4 Ibs. shingle nails. 

1 pair of strap hinges. 
6 feet of heavy wire. 

18 feet of 1 inch mesh wire for door and front. 
8 10x10x15 oil-cans for nests. 
2-3 of one end cut-out. 
4 xlO anchor bolts. 

The Nests. Nests for laying hens should be somewhat 
secluded, for fowls are less liable to acquire the egg-eating 
habit when the nests are in a darkened place. They should 
be from 10 x 12 to 12 x 14 inches in size and 8 to 10 inches 
high, the larger breeds requiring the larger size. A cheap 
and serviceable nest may be made out of a five-gallon oil 
can by cutting the end out, leaving about 3 inches at the 
bottom to keep the nest material in the nest. Such a nest 
can be easily cleaned either by scalding or spraying. The 
illustration shows top of can taken off; this makes the nest 
more roomy. Several of these nests may be set on a plat- 
form about 2 feet from the floor, turning the entrance of 
the nest toward the wall and leaving a space of 8 inches 
between the nest and the wall for the hens to walk along. 
The nest platform should be nailed to a cleat on the side 
of the house and braced from top of sill. Over the nests, 
to keep the chickens from standing on them and to help 
to darken them, is fitted a sloping top. This top should be 
built high enough, so that the attendant can see into the 
nests from the rear. Ten nests to fifty hens should gener- 
ally be provided. 

Another plan for nests frequently adopted is to place 
them under the droppings platform high enough to permit 
the hens to have full use of the floor. If this plan is follow- 



K '" ; - 

ed it will be necessary to raise the platform 3 feet from the 
floor. This is higher than desirable, especially for the 
heavier breeds, as they are liable to injure themselves in 
jumping to the floor from the roosts. However, there is 
little danger from this in a house without a floor or with 
a floor if it be covered deeply with litter as it should be. 
The coal oil can nests may be used under the platform, or 
a row of nests may be made with lumber. "Whatever is used, 
they should be made in 
a way that they may be 
easily removed for clean- 
ing and disinfecting. 

Another plan for 
nests more desirable 
than either in mild sec- 
tions where the fowls are 
out of doors all the year, 
is to put them outside 
the house either on the 
end or side of the house 
least exposed to rains or 
the hot sun. Still an- 
other plan is illustrated in a Utah colony house. In this case 
the nests are placed in the back wall of the house. The hens 
enter from the inside, while eggs are gathered from the out- 

Separate Laying House. Where the colony system is 
used, as in Petaluma, Cal., a separate laying house has 
many advantages. It may be used in part for feed storage 
and feed hoppers. The space in the roosting house is all 
used for roosting or taken up with perches ; the nests must 
either be on the outside wall of the house or in a separate 
house for that purpose. On the large Petaluma ranches no 
scratching houses are used, dependence being placed on the 


The front board is hinged at the bottom and 
is shown open for gathering the eggs. 



free range furnishing the necessary exercise. With heavy 
breeds, however, scratching sheds should also be provided. 
Broody Coop. Where an empty pen or yard is not 
available, a broody coop should be provided for the broody 
hens. This may be made from an ordinary box with a floor 
of slats. The slats make it cleaner and also prevent the 
hen sitting. Cold air circulating underneath will also help 
to overcome the brooding tendency. At the first symptoms 
of broodiness the hen should be removed to the broody coop, 

On farm of H. A. George* Petaluma. 

unless wanted for hatching. This coop may be hung on the 
wall inside the house if there is room enough, otherwise it 
may be hung outdoors on the shady side of the house or in 
some other convenient place. If there is a vacant yard 
available it is a good plan to use that for breaking up the 
broody hens. Where large numbers of fowls are kept and 
broodiness becomes a considerable problem, a separate 
house built for that purpose may be used, such as illus- 
trated above. 
The Trapnest. The main or essential points in a good 


trapnest are simplicity, cheapness, and accuracy in opera- 
tion. The Oregon Station trapnest has been in use 12 
years (Utah Station Bulletin 92 and Oregon Station Cir- 
cular 4). As the hen enters this nest her weight closes the 
door, making it impossible for her to get out or another 
hen to enter. The opening in the nest is made just large 
enough for one hen at a time to enter. 

It is necessary to visit the nests several times during the 
day to release the hens, and there should be enough nests 
so that there will always be some vacant, otherwise eggs are 
liable to be laid on the floor. For a flock of fifty hens, 10 
or 12 nests will be sufficient if they are visited often enough. 

The nests may be built singly or in groups. They may 
be set in the wall of the house, or inside the wall. They 
may also be made and set up outside, separate from the 
house. It is sometimes an advantage to release the hens 
from the top instead of through the door. This can be 
done where there is only one tier of nests. Occasionally a 
hen is slow in coming to the door to be let out, and by pull- 
ing the nest out or raising the cover, the operation of releas- 
ing the hens may be more quickly performed. With the 
small, active breeds there is not much trouble on this score. 
They come quickly to the door. The heavier breeds, like 
the Plymouth Rock, usually take their time in coming out, 
and sometimes have to be pulled out. Where they can be 
reached from the top this trouble is overcome. 

The dimensions given are for small fowls and medium- 
sized fowls up to about six pounds. It will be necessary to 
add an inch or two to the dimensions for the large breeds 
and increase the size or width of opening for the door. 

How to Make It. The Oregon trapnest can be made 
by any one who can use a saw and drive a nail. It can be 
cut out of a 12-inch board, 10 feet long. The material con- 
sists of: one board 1 x 12 inches x 10 feet; six screw eyes, 

Trapnesting is revolutionizing poultry breeding. 



No. 210 bright ; two pieces of iron rod 3-16 x 12 inches, and 
two pieces belt lacing 9x^/2 inches. 

Yards. If the poultry houses are located near a neigh- 
bor's fields or yards, it will be necessary to yard the fowls. 
For other reasons, such, as the keeping of more than one 
variety or strain of fowls, separate fenced enclosures must 
be maintained. "Where these reasons do not exist, it is bet- 
ter to give the fowls 
free range, either in 
large or small flocks 
or in large or small 
houses. They will 
do better running 
together, as many as 
500 in a flock, on 
free range than if 
separated into yards 
with fifty or 100 in 
each. The house 
may be divided into 
pens with partitions 
between each, and 50 
or 100 fowls in each 
pen. When once ac- 
customed to their 
pen they will usual- 
ly go back to their 
own roosting places. 

Importance of Keeping the Yards Clean. When chick- 
ens are confined throughout the year in yards, care must 
be taken to keep the yards clean, otherwise there will in 
time be serious losses from diseases and general loss in 
vitality. "When they are kept year after year on the same 
ground the yards sooner or later become contaminated with 


Being taken from the trapnest when she laid 
her 303d egg. 


disease-producing germs, and losses through sickness and 
decrease in vitality will render it unprofitable to keep 
fowls. Dr. Salmon says: "Accumulations of excrement 
harbor parasites, vitiate the atmosphere, and breed conta- 
gion/' It may be possible, but it is doubtful, to keep yards 
sufficiently clean by disinfection and other means to pre- 
vent troubles of this kind. At any rate, the expense of 
disinfection and cleaning would render it impracticable. 

Size of Yards. The size of yards will be governed 
largely by, first, amount of land available ; second, nature 
of the soil ; third, the cost of fencing ; and fourth, number 
of separate breeds or breeding yards. 

As to the first, the larger the yard the more exercise the 
fowls will take. Large yards, therefore, mean greater vigor 
in the stock. "Where the soil is dry and porous with plenty 
of sunshine, probably double the number of fowls can be 
kept on the same area or yard as where the soil is heavy 
and wet. The larger the yard, the better for the fowls; 
but it is possible to make them so large that the cost of 
fencing will offset the advantages. In other words, the 
fencing becomes prohibitive when a certain limit of yard 
is exceeded. 

The main, if not the only excuse for small, separate 
yards, is for keeping distinct strains or breeds separate for 
breeding purposes. Where as many as 500 fowls are kept 
and there is no object in making up small breeding pens, 
one large yard may be fenced in and the fowls allowed to 
run together in the yard. So far as there is any reliable 
data or experiments, the results in egg yield will be prac- 
tically as good as where they are separated into small yards 
of 50 or 100 fowls. Again, the larger yard is more easily 
cultivated and cropped than small yards. 

Fencing is expensive, and if the yards are very large the 
cost may exceed that of the houses. It requires more fenc- 


ing to fence a given area in a rectangular yard than in a 
square yard. The estimates of yard space vary from 20 
to 100, or more, square feet per fowl. For 100 hens the 
size of yard under favorable soil conditions, should not be 
less than 20 square feet per fowl with a double yard, making 
40 square feet as a minimum. 

Double Yards. Where fowls are kept yarded the only 
practical method of keeping the yards clean or to lessen 
the danger of soil contamination, is to furnish at least two 
yards for each flock. If the long, continuous house be used 
and it is divided into small pens it will be better to have 
the yards on each side of the house, rather than two yards 
on one side, in order to get width enough in the yards for 
cultivation. The yards being shorter and wider, less fenc- 
ing will be required. Where the yards are too small for 
horse cultivation, spading will have to be resorted to. 

Portable Fence. Portable fences may be used, such as 
illustrated on page 204. When the fowls are moved from 
one yard to another the fences are moved, so that half the 
amount of fence is needed, as for permanent fences. They 
take half the amount of wire, save the digging of post-holes 
and the cost of posts. In the case of continuous houses, 
with yards on each side, the fence is moved from one side 
of the house to the other, leaving the old ground open and 
free for cultivation. This saves in the cost of labor in 
cultivating. More labor, however, is required to build the 
portable fence, and the moving of them once or twice a year 
is likely to damage them somewhat, but if built of good 
heavy material they will last a number of years. 

Portable System for the Farm. On the general farm 
where 50 or 100 hens are kept, the portable fence plan may 
be used to advantage where it is necessary to fence in the 
fowls, as, for example, during seeding time and while the 
grain is getting a start. Part of a grain field may be used 


for a poultry house and flock. During part of the spring 
a quarter of an acre may be fenced off with a portable fence, 
and the flock put in a portable house, such as illustrated 
below. The flock would be turned loose on free range 
during the summer, and the following year the house and 
fence moved onto fresh ground. A fresh quarter acre should 
be given them each year for four years and in the fifth year 

Designed and used at Oregon Station. 

they would be put back on the original quarter to follow 
the same rotation. The manure from the 50 fowls would 
keep the acre of ground in good fertility for the growth of 
crops, and soil contamination, with consequent diseases in 
the flock, would be practically eliminated. If the ground is 
fairly dry and the flock be not kept shut in the yard more 
than three months, 100 fowls could be kept on the same 
acre, using two colony houses. In northern sections where 
snow covers the ground two months or more in the winter, 
additional scratching room should be provided in the form 
of a cheap shed illustrated on page 183. 

The farm flock of 50 or 100 fowls could be made the unit 
of larger and extensive plants. For every 100 fowls an 


acre of ground with two colony houses and a portable fence 
would be required. A system of this kind followed in com- 
bination with grain growing may be conducted with practi- 
cally no cost for land. The chickens will do little if any 
damage to the grain crop, if the crop is pretty well grown 
before they are turned into it. They will eat some of the 
grain, but the grain will not be wasted and when the crop is 
harvested they will pick up the waste grain in the field. The 


house would then be moved out farther into the stubble 

Fencing. Evolution and poultry breeding have not yet 
produced the hen without wings. In some of the heavy 
meat breeds the wings are of comparatively little use. A 
very low fence serves to confine them. The wings of the 
tame duck are practically valueless to protect them from 
the wild animals of the forest, which was the particular 
use or purpose of wings in their wild state. Long disuse 
has lessened their power of flight and put them practically 
out of commission. The turkey, more than any of the 


domestic fowls, retains the power of flying. This is another 
instance of where the poultry breeder is helpless in chang- 
ing the nature of the hen. In another thousand years or 
two the wings of fowls, through disuse, may diminish in 
size and strength to such an extent that poultry fences will 
be cut down to a height that will serve only to keep the hen 
from walking over them. As it is, the wing is a part of the 
hen which, no matter how valuable it may originally have 
been to her, is now positively a detriment not only to the 
poultryman, who is making a considerable investment in 
fences, but to the neighbor engaged in gardening. 

The Height of Fences. In practice, fences are usually 
made from 4 to 6 feet high, the lower fence for the heavier 
meat breeds and the higher for the light breeds. Even 6 
feet is too low for some of the Leghorns or other small 
breeds, but fences are seldom made higher than this. By 
clipping the wings, or one wing of each fowl, the 6-foot fence 
will be high enough for the smallest or most active fowls. 
"Where it is not desirable to clip the wing, it will be neces- 
sary to make the fence about 8 feet high for the active 

Material. Poultry fences are almost invariably made of 
poultry netting. It is made of galvanized wire and the 
size ranges about 18-gage to 20-gage, usually 19 or 20. For 
a durable, substantial fence, the 18-gage is recommended. 
The durability of the wire depends upon its being well 
galvanized. For adult fowls 2-inch mesh wire is used ; for 
small chicks 1-inch or %-inch mesh. The posts should be 
set 10 feet apart, not more than 12. A 2 x 4-inch post 
treated with a preservative is heavy enough, though a 4 x 4 
will last longer. 

Shade and Fruit Trees. Shade is very necessary for 
fowls in summer. This may be secured from fruit trees 


or other trees. Two or three fruit trees such trees as will 
do best in the particular soil and location in each yard 
will furnish some revenue, as well as shade. Most varieties 
of fruit do well in poultry yards. Prunes, apples and 
cherries do exceptionally well. The droppings fertilize the 
trees and the poultry aid materially in keeping in check cer- 
tain of the fruit pests. Sour apples should be fed sparingly 
to fowls. Sour varieties of apples should not be planted. 
Where it is not desirable to plant trees, sunflower or corn 
may be planted early in season in part of the yard, fenced 
off temporarily. The sunflower is a rapid grower and 
furnishes excellent shade. 


1. No one style of house is essential to a good egg yield. 

2. Good egg yields have been secured in long houses, and 
in small, portable colony houses, but the highest records 
have been made in the latter. 

3. On one point all experiments agree, that is, the neces- 
sity of an abundant supply of fresh air. 

4. Even in the cold climates of Maine, Canada, and 
Minnesota the cold fresh-air houses have given better re- 
sults than warmly built houses. 

5. Fowls require shelter more than house shelter from 
winds, rains and snow, rather than from cold. 

6. The open shed, or the open-front house, is the most 
serviceable house that has yet been invented. "Without it 
the poultry industry would have gone to the bad before 

7. As to how much of the front should be open will de- 
pend largely upon weather conditions. The opening may 
be smaller in cold climates than in warm. Additional ven- 
tilation should be given during summer. 


8. Samples of air should be taken at night with the nose 
to determine whether the fowls are getting enough of the 
cheapest and best poultry food on earth fresh air. A 
good nose, therefore, is part of the equipment of a poultry 

9. Records are not much in favor of movable curtains. 
It is doubtful whether they are necessary or desirable in 
any section. 

10. Portable houses render the control or prevention of 
diseases much more easy. 

11. After all, the house is not guilty of all the things that 
have been charged against it. Probably the yards should 
more often get the blame. A good house should not be 
hitched on to an unsanitary and poorly kept yard. 


Poultry manure has a high fertilizing value. It is es- 
pecially rich in nitrogen. Unlike farm animals, fowls pass 
the urinary excretions in the droppings. The urine is rich 
in nitrogen as well as in potash, and this accounts for the 
high fertilizing value of the droppings. 

The average fowl produces at night about thirty pounds 
of manure in a year. This varies somewhat as the method 
of feeding varies. Fowls fed a soft mash in the evening 
produce more manure at night than fowls that have whole 
grain as the last feed of the day. The night droppings, on 
the average, based on the value of commercial fertilizers, 
should be worth 15 to 20 cents per fowl ; or at the rate of 
$30 for 100 hens during the year, counting both night and 
day droppings. 

A large part of the value of the manure, however, will be 
lost unless some care is taken to preserve it. Much of the 
loss will be prevented if the droppings be mixed with dry 


loam. If stored in a shed or in barrels there should be al- 
ternate layers of loam (not sand) and manure in the pro- 
portion of about 2 inches of the former to 1 inch of the 

There are other methods of preserving the fertilizing 
constituents of the manure. One is to use gypsum. It 
is a pretty good plan to sprinkle the dropping board with 
gypsum and then mix more of it with the manure when 
stored. In experiments at the Maine Station it was found 
that t ' from the dung stored by itself or with sawdust, more 
than half of this had escaped during the summer. The lot 
stored with 40 pounds of plaster lost about one-third, while 
the lot stored with 82 pounds plaster and 15 pounds saw- 
dust suffered no loss/' The best preservation was secured 
with kainit and acid phosphate, both with and without saw- 
dust. For a flock of one hundred hens a good method of 
preserving the manure would be to use about thirty pounds 
of acid phosphate or kainit to about half a bushel of saw- 
dust. Good dry earth or muck will take the place of saw- 
dust. Lime and wood ashes should not be mixed with the 
manure as they accelerate the loss of nitrogen. 



Feeding is one of the very important subjects in poultry 
husbandry. It is true that some hens will not lay many 
eggs, no matter how well they may be fed ; that is because 
they have not the inherited ability to lay ; in other words, 
they have not the proper breeding. This is discussed in the 
chapter on breeding. It will be seen there that food is 
efficient in producing eggs largely as the hen has been bred 
for laying, and that it is a waste to feed it to some hens. 
At the same time feeding must not be underrated. While 
it is true that some hens will not lay no matter how well 
they may be fed, it is equally true that some will not lay, 
no matter what their breeding may be, unless well fed. 

The problems in feeding cannot be settled by a set of 
rules and regulations. That is to say, any system of feed- 
ing cannot be followed blindly under all conditions. If 
fowls were all alike, if climatic conditions were always the 
same, if foods never varied in composition, if the feeding 
were done with a single purpose, it might be possible to re- 
duce the problem of feeding to one simple ration and one 
single way of feeding. If conditions were always the same 
it would be possible to say to the poultrymen in effect : Feed 
this ration and follow this system of feeding and you will 
be successful. 

The successful poultryman of course will follow a system, 
but no system will relieve him of the necessity of doing a 
little thinking for himself if he will get the best value from 
the foods he feeds. His success in securing a good egg 
yield and, therefore, a good profit will depend very largely 



upon his knowledge of foods and the skill he exercises io 

That the fowls of to-day lay considerably more eggs than 
their wild progenitors did is due in part to better feeding 
and a more abundant supply of food. But the hens are 
not laying on the average half what they should. To secure 
the maximum egg yield the poultryman must give earnest 
attention to the feed bucket and to methods of feeding. 
High success in securing eggs can only come where the sub- 
ject of poultry feeds and feeding is given earnest study. 

A Knowledge of the Composition of Foods will enable 
the poultryman to gain a clearer conception of their values. 
The advance in poultry feeding in recent years has been 
due in part to a better knowledge of the composition of 
foods. While our knowledge of poultry foods and feeding 
may never reach a point where we can say that certain 
foods or rations will produce certain results, yet a great 
deal of valuable information is available as a result of ex- 
perimental feeding at the stations and of chemical analysis 
of poultry foods. In addition we have the experience of 
practical poultry-keepers, which constitutes a fund of val- 
uable information to draw upon. But poultry feeding has 
not yet been reduced to a so-called scientific basis. While 
this is true, the student of poultry feeding will be agreeably 
surprised to find much data of such a character as to well 
repay diligent study and research. The manufacture of 
eggs for egg production is really a manufacturing pro- 
cess, the hen being the factory requires a careful study 
of the raw materials as well as of the finished product, and 
the working of the factory itself. If the poultryman wishes 
to achieve the highest measure of success, it is imperative 
that he avail himself of the information that is available as 
a result of costly experience and experiment. 


Limitations of Feeding. Most poultry-keepers do not 
realize the importance of good feeding; others place the 
whole responsibility upon the food and feeding. Before 
telling what food will do, let us first tell what it will not 
do ; let us understand some of its limitations 

First. Good food and good feeding will not make some 
hens lay ; they are not bred to lay. At the Oregon Station 
one hen laid 259 eggs in one year ; another, fed on the same 
food, laid six eggs. In another case one hen laid 268 and 
a flock mate on the same ration laid three. Many other 
similar instances might be given. This is referred to in 
detail under the chapter on breeding. 

Second. Good feeding will avail little unless the fowls 
have good housing or care, or, in other words, favorable 

"With good fowls and good housing, what will good feed- 
ing do in the production or manufacture of eggs? 

Food Affects the Quality of Eggs. The hen is very 
particular about what she puts into the egg, so particular 
that probably no food could be fed that would render the 
eggs totally unfit for consumption. At the same time it 
has been demonstrated by experiment that food affects the 
quality of the egg, and that to produce eggs of the highest 
quality attention must be paid to the quality of the food. 

Flavor of Eggs. Heavy feeding of onions, for example, 
will give a distinct flavor to the eggs and make them almost 
unpalatable. Hens eating large quantities of beef scrap 
will lay eggs of strong flavor. These facts the writer per- 
sonally demonstrated by experiment. No doubt other foods 
will also give a flavor to the eggs, desirable or undesirable. 
It is said that a diet of fish will give a fishy taste to the eggs. 

It is not necessary, however, to discard these foods on this 
account, for when fed in normal quantities they will not 


give a perceptible flavor to the eggs. Only when the hens 
have been starved on green food or animal food, and then 
given all they will eat of either for a few days, will any 
flavor from onions or animal food be noticed in the egg. 
But this shows that the hen puts into the egg what she finds 
in the food, even the flavor of the foods. It is therefore 
important that good wholesome food be fed at all times. 

Feeding Color Into the Egg. It is possible for the skill- 
ful feeder to flavor the eggs; it sometimes happens from 
unskillful feeding, as indicated above. It is possible also 
to "paint" them. The variation in the shade of yellow in 
the yolk is due to a difference in the food. The coloring of 
the egg shell is beyond the feeder's art, but food affects the 
color of the yolk as we have demonstrated. A pen of fowls 
fed dried alfalfa leaves produced eggs of good yolk color. 
A similar pen fed sugar beets instead of alfalfa leaves laid 
eggs very pale in color. In an experiment at the Oregon 
Station kale " painted " the yolks a good color of yellow. 
Experiments at other stations have shown that the feeding 
of yellow corn will color the yolk. (West Virginia Bulletin 
88. ) When eggs are pale in the yolk it is a sure indication 
that the hens are not getting green food enough. Clover, 
vetch, rape, grass, or other green food, and doubtless cer- 
tain grain foods, will color the yolk. A yolk too highly col- 
ored is not desirable, and it is possible for the hens to eat so 
much of certain foods as to color it too highly. Where the 
ration is right this should not occur. Food, therefore, af- 
fects the quality of the eggs. 

It has been further demonstrated that it is possible to 
color both the yolk and the white of the egg by the feeding 
of certain aniline dyes. Khodamine Red dye fed at the rate 
of 100 grams daily will, in a few days, color the white a 
pink color, while Soudan III dye will in about two weeks of 
feeding color the yolk a dark red. An egg laid two days 


after feeding this dye to the hen will show the outer rim or 
layer of the yolk colored. An egg laid at the end of two 
weeks of feeding will show each layer of yolk distinctly 

So far the experiments referred only to color and flavor. 
Both color and flavor in the egg are points that have a 
market value. Eggs either too pale or too highly colored 
in the yolk will be objected to by consumers who pay a 
fancy price and expect a fancy article. So, too, the flavor 
must be unobjectionable if fancy prices are to be received. 

These experiments might indicate that it is possible, by 
feeding certain foods, to change the chemical composition 
of eggs or feed into them certain things that will improve 
their nutritive value. So far, however, this is only a pos- 
sibility. Little investigation has been done and what has 
been done seems to show contradictory results. 

Investigations by Cross at Cornell showed that ' ' in feed- 
ing a ration high in fat or a ration high in protein there 
is no material change in the amount of fat and protein in 
the egg. ' ' There is need, however, of further investigation 
and it would seem that the matter is of practical importance 
enough to warrant it. 

Food Affects the Yield of Eggs. Other conditions be- 
ing right, good feeding makes the hen productive, and the 
productive hen is the healthy hen. In a pen of four fowls 
at the Utah Station 804 eggs were laid in' one year. 
Another pen of four, sisters to the others, fed a different 
ration, laid 532 eggs. The difference in the ration made 
the difference in the egg yield. In another test one pen 
laid 574 eggs in a year, and a similar pen on a different 
ration laid 404. 

In a West Virginia experiment fowls fed a nitrogenous 
ration laid 7,555 eggs, while other fowls fed a carbonaceous 
ration laid 3,431 eggs. (West Virginia Bulletin 60.) 


Food Affects the Size of Eggs. Food and feeding in- 
fluence the size of eggs. Do not always blame the hens or 
the breed for small eggs. An experiment has shown that 
the size of egg is influenced by factors under the control of 
the poultryman. 

The size of egg, of course is influenced by other factors. 
The'size varies to some extent as the vigor of the fowl does, 
and vigor is very largely dependent upon the food and 
method of feeding. This fact was brought out in an ex- 
periment by the writer at the Utah Station. Fifty Leghorn 
pullets were divided into four lots, as follows : 

Pen 2, 10 fowls. In a continuous house, closed front, slightly 

artificially heated. 

Pen 14, 10 fowls. In a continuous house, closed front. 
Pen 26, 10 fowls. In a continuous house, open front. 
Colony house, 18 fowls. On free range. 

The average weight of eggs for the six months beginning 
December 1, was as follows: 

Colony house 25.3 ounces per dozen 

Pen 2 23.4 " " 

Pen 14 23.5 " 

Pen 26 22.5 " 

Eleven eggs from the colony house, it is seen, weighed 
as much as 12 from the other pen. The increased size of 
the eggs from the colony house flock was due to one or two 
factors, or to both, namely, to greater exercise and natural 
foods secured on the range. It was not a question of fresh 
air or type of house, because in the open-front house the 
eggs were no larger than those from the closed-front house. 
That there is a relation between the size of egg and vigor of 
the fowl is evident from the fact that the fowls in the colony 
house and on free range weighed heavier than those in the 


other houses at the end of experiment, though their weights 
were equal at the start. The size of egg is undoubtedly in- 
fluenced by the physical condition or vigor of the fowl. 
The food affects the vigor of the fowl and therefore affects 
the size of egg. In more recent experiments at the New 
Jersey Station, rations deficient in protein produced un- 
dersized eggs. (New Jersey Bulletin 265.) Other recent 
experiments at "West Virginia indicate that scanty feeding 
produces undersized eggs (West Virginia Bulletin 145). 

Food Affects the Profits. A proper study of foods and 
feeding must include prices as well as composition. A ration, 
although it may give good results in egg yield, may not be 
profitable because it is made up of too high-priced foods. 
There is no patent on egg-producing foods. It is not neces- 
sary to use any certain kind or brand of foods. It is not 
necessary to pay more for the chickens 7 food than for the 
food for the family table. There are rations that are im- 
practicable because they are too high-priced. 

Different Elements of Food. If we look upon the hen 
as a factory for the production of eggs and the eggs as the 
finished product, the food will be the raw material. If we 
had never seen a hen eating wheat we should hardly sus- 
pect that eggs were made out of wheat. Eggs and wheat 
do not look much alike, and yet when the chemist analyzes 
them he finds that they are pretty much alike in composi- 
tion. The farmer manufactures wheat from the soil, with 
the assistance of the heat from the sun and the rain from 
the clouds. The crop it produces he separates into straw, 
chaff and grain. The chemist takes the grain and separates 
that into water, protein, carbohydrates, fat and ash. The 
poultryman feeds wheat to the hen and the hen produces 
eggs. The chemist analyzes or separates these eggs as he 
did the wheat and he finds that they contain the same ele- 
ments as he found in the wheat, namely water, protein, car- 


bohydrates, fat and ash, with the difference that the car- 
bohydrates have been converted into fat. The main differ- 
ence between a bushel of wheat and a bushel of eggs is that 
the eggs are more palatable and more nutritious. They are 
also more valuable in the market. 

A study, therefore, of the composition of the finished 
product gives us a clue as to what the raw material 
should be. 

Composition of Eggs. Without the shells a dozen eggs 
weighing l 1 /^ pounds, contained 13.57 ounces water, 2.32 
ounces protein, 2.26 ounces fat and 0.22 ounces ash. A 
pound of eggs is worth from 10 to 30 cents, depending upon 
the season and markets ; a pound of wheat runs from 1 to 2 
cents. When wheat is given to the hen it is converted by 
a delicate process of manufacture into a form of food so 
valuable that it is worth many times as much as it was in 
the grain sack. More than that, the hen is thrifty; for 
every pound of wheat she puts into eggs she puts a pound 
of water, as will be seen later ; and she gets a good price for 
the water. In selling eggs at 40 cents a dozen the poultry- 
man is getting 25 cents a pound for the water in them. It 
is more than the dishonest dairyman gets for the water he 
puts into his milk. 

An average egg weighs two ounces: 10.81% of it is shell, 
32.47% of it is yolk, and 56.42% of it is white. 

The yolk is composed of about 50% water, 15.5% protein, 
33.4% fat and about 1% mineral matter. 

The white is composed of about 85% water, 12.1% pro- 
tein, 0.23% fat and 0.34% mineral matter. 

Relation of Food Eaten to Eggs Laid. There is a close 
relationship between the character of the raw material or 
food and the finished product. The skill of the poultry- 
man comes in in properly adjusting the ration to meet the 
requirements of heavy production. The hen does not ad- 


just the composition of the egg to the food that may be fed. 
If the right elements are not present in the food she refuses 
to make eggs. The composition of the egg does not vary to 
any extent. 

The egg contains one-quarter ounce of protein. If the 
hen be fed on wheat and nothing else she may eat four 
ounces per day. Of that she will need about three ounces 
to supply bodily needs. This leaves one ounce to make eggs 
with. In an ounce of wheat there is about one-tenth of an 
ounce of protein. Now, supposing the protein is all digest- 
ed, which is not the case, she will not get enough protein to 
make half an egg a day. But an egg every two or three 
days would not be so bad at certain seasons. The egg, how- 
ever, contains other things. It contains also about one- 
quarter ounce of mineral matter, chiefly lime for shell. An 
ounce of wheat contains less than one-tenth as much min- 
eral matter as one egg of two ounces contains. The egg also 
contains fat. It contains less than one-quarter ounce of 
fat, but the wheat would contain three-quarters of an ounce 
of fat formers. 

"What would be the result if the hen were fed on wheat 
alone ? She would get enough protein to make an egg about 
every three days ; enough lime to make an egg every 12 days 
and enough carbohydrates and fat to make three eggs a 
day. "What will the hen do in such a quandary ? She could 
put more fat into the egg to make up for lack of protein. 
She could make a counterfeit article, but she will not. Un- 
less she has the right materials to make it with, she will not 
make the egg. "What would probably happen would be that 
she would lay an egg every three or four days, every two out 
of three soft shells, and the surplus fat and carbohydrates 
would be wasted or put on the hen in the shape of surplus 
fat. This is assuming that the hen would continue to con- 
sume four ounces of wheat a day and maintain health. In 



practice, however, the result would be different. She would 
not long continue to eat four ounces of wheat and nothing 
else. There would soon be a loss of appetite and health. 

It is poor economy to feed wheat alone. The same thing 
is true of corn and all the cereals. None of them are " bal- 
anced " for egg production. 

A Balanced Ration. This raises the question of what 
is a balanced ration ? A balanced ration is one containing 
the right kind of nutrients in 
right proportions for the pur- 
pose for which it is fed. 

"We must know the composi- 
tion of foods before we can 
figure up a balanced ration. 
It may not be necessary in 
practice for the poultryman 
to figure up balanced rations 
for his flock. His experience 
or the experience of others, or 
the results of tests at experi- 
ment stations, are a pretty 
safe guide for the poultry- 
man ; but in order that he may 
intelligently plan improve- 
ments in rations, and adjust 
his feeding to the available 
food supply, he should under- 
stand something of the com- 
position of ordinary poultry 

What Use Does a Hen Make of the Food She Eats? 
In other words, what is the purpose of feeding ? The first 
use she makes of the food is to supply the needs of her 


Wheat, oats, bran, and beef 
scrap in the above proportions 
make up a balanced ration for lay- 
ing hens. In addition, green food, 
grit, and oyster shell must be fed. 



body. The maintenance of her body is her first concern. 
The body of the hen, like that of other animals, needs con- 
stant rebuilding. There is constant wearing or breaking 
down of tissues, and the food rebuilds 
the body or repairs its wastes. The 
work of the poultryman, therefore, does 
not end with the making of the hen, with 
the hatching and rearing of the pullet: 
he must maintain her, and the skill of 
the feeder shows itself in so compound- 
ing rations and so feeding them that the 
health and vitality of the hen may be 
maintained. That is the first considera- 
tion of good feeding the maintenance 
needs of the hen, the maintenance of 
health and vigor. 

In feeding laying fowls, the second use 
to which food is put by the hen is to 
make eggs. After the body's needs have 
been supplied, if there is any food left, 
the hen will use it for the making of 
eggs. Eggs are made from surplus food. 
After she has eaten enough to supply 
bodily needs she turns attention to the 
egg basket. It is poor economy, there- 
fore, if the purpose is egg production, to feed just 
enough to maintain the hen. More must be fed or our ef- 
forts will be wasted. 

If the purpose is meat production and a fattening or 
fleshening ration is being fed, the purpose will be defeated 
if only enough is fed to maintain the fowl. The profit in 
feeding in both cases comes from the food consumed above 
that necessary for maintenance. 

On the. other hand, heavy feeding does not necessarily 

T o h fVsh la fat e 
and water in eggs, 



mean a heavy yield of eggs. In an experiment by the writer 
two pens of fowls consumed an average of 75.6 pounds 
food, not counting the green food, and laid an average of 
167 eggs per fowl. With the same amount of food two 
other pens averaged 117 eggs each. The nutritive ratio 
was practically the same in each case. While the heavy 
layer must consume plenty of food, the manner of feeding 
and the kind of food must be taken into account. In other 
words, the efficiency of feeding rests largely on the kinds of 
food fed and the skill with which the feeding is done. 


Digestible nutrients (pounds') 










Growing chicks: 

First 2 weeks .... 






2 to 4 weeks 






4 to 6 weeks 






6 to 8 weeks 






8 to 10 weeks 






10 to 12 weeks. . . 






Adults (maintenance 

only) : 

Capon, 9 to 12 







Hen, 5 to 7 pounds 






Hen, 3 to 5 pounds 






Egg production: 

Hen, 5 to 8 pounds 






Hen, 3 to 5 pounds 






Food Requirements. The food requirements vary with 
the age and size of the fowls. The younger the chick the 
more food is required per pound weight of chick. The 


larger the laying hen, less food is required per pound 
weight of hen. It has been shown in experiments by Wheel- 
er that 100 pounds of chicks under two weeks of age re- 
quired 10.1 pounds of food (digestible nutrients) per day; 
from four to six weeks the requirement was 8.6 pounds; 
at 10 to 12 weeks the requirement was 5.4, so that accord- 
ing to the weight of the chick, or for every 100 pounds of 
chicks regardless of number, nearly double the amount of 
food is required during the first two weeks of their age as 
is required from the 10th to the 12th week. It is also shown 
that the small chick requires double the amount of food 
that the laying hen needs, per pound weight. For a hen 
not laying, the difference is still greater. More food, of 
course, is eaten per chick as it grows older, but less is eaten 
per pound weight of chick. 

Natural and Artificial Feeding. The business of poul- 
try keeping is more or less artificial, even the feeding of 
the fowls. Artificial methods, however, can be followed 
successfully just so far. The lessons of feeding will be 
more easily learned if account be taken of the manner in 
which fowls secure their food under natural conditions. 
Where they have their liberty to range over fields they pick 
up weed seeds and waste grain, nibble at the grass and 
grass roots, chase flies and grasshoppers, hunt for bugs and 
worms, and finish off with grit for dessert. Under such 
conditions the hen balances her own ration, maintains her 
health and vigor and produces eggs abundantly, if the sup- 
ply of these foods is large enough so that she can secure 
her meals regularly each day. The exercise secured in 
hunting for the food enables her to better digest and as- 
similate her food and maintain her in good health and vigor. 
But under natural conditions the daily food supply is un- 
certain, and here is indicated the advantage of artificial or 
systematic feeding, or the necessity of cooperation between 


the farmer and the fowl, if the highest production is to be 

The Purpose of Feeding is not merely to maintain the 
fowl in health and vigor; she can take care of that herself 
if given her liberty; the purpose of feeding is to secure 
higher production, and that is possible only where the food 
supply is sufficient and regular for the needs of the hen. 
Account must be taken of the nature of the hen. She must 
be fed artificially, but artificial foods or nutrients must not 
be substituted for the foods obtained naturally. Neither 
may a life of ease be substituted for her natural life of ac- 
tivity. She is a creature of great nervous activity and the 
poultryman must take account of that also and in his feeding 
make sure that the activity or exercise is provided. Nature 
calls for food of certain kinds and for activity or exercise 
that will make the food efficient in production. We cannot 
improve on the kinds of foods, nor do away with activity. 
But the intense production called for in the modern im- 
proved egg-producing hen calls for systems of feeding that 
will furnish unfailingly a full supply of all the food 
nutrients demanded by the fowl. 

Composition of Foods. This does not mean that the 
feeder must limit himself to weed seeds and bugs and grass- 
hoppers. Wheat and corn are made up of the same in- 
gredients as wild weed seeds, namely, protein, fat, carbohy- 
drates; so the modern meat scraps contain the same ele- 
ments as grasshoppers and worms. The difference is that 
we furnish the vegetable protein, carbohydrates and fat, in 
the form of wheat and corn instead of weed seeds, and the 
animal protein and fat in the form of meat scraps rather 
than in the form of bugs and insects. 

The Mineral Matter called ash, which is that part of the 
food that remains after burning, is found in varied amounts 
in all foods. The hen is a concentrator ; she takes the min- 


eral in the food, concentrates it into egg shells and mixes 
a little in the contents. All grain foods contain insufficient 
lime with which to make egg shells and the laying hen must 
eat grit, oyster shells, or other things, to supply the de- 
ficiency. "Where high egg production is called for, the 
mineral matter is a most important part of the food. Its 
importance should be more fully emphasized. 

The Oregon Station hen that laid 42 pounds of eggs in 
12 months used in the manufacture of shells practically 
3y 2 pounds of lime. In addition there was a small quan- 
tity of mineral matter in the egg contents. The grain foods 
she ate contained about two pounds of ash. More than 
half the mineral matter, therefore, was secured from other 
sources than the grain foods. 

Mineral nutrients are also demanded by the fowl for 
building up or repairing the bones or skeleton of the body. 
The flesh and internal organs also contain certain com- 
pounds of ash. The importance of ash in feeding has been 
brought out in feeding experiments with hogs. Corn alone, 
which is low in mineral matter, produced small gain in 
weight and developed an undersized, fine-boned, over-fat 
animal ' t characterized by proportionately small kidneys, 
lungs, heart, liver and muscles, and by a high percentage 
of fat." A German physiologist proved that animals will 
live longer with no food at all than with food containing no 
mineral matter. As to the effect of insufficient calcium 
(lime) Sherman quotes the following: "Voit kept a pigeon 
for a year on food poor in calcium without observing any 
effects attributable to the diet until the bird was killed and 
dissected, when it appeared that, although the bones con- 
cerned in locomotion were still sound, there was a marked 
wasting of lime salts from other bones, such as the skull 
and sternum, which in places were even perforated. The 
injurious effects of an insufficient intake of lime is, of 


course, more noticeable with growing than with full-grown 
animals. ' ' 

As the egg-producing capacity of fowls is improved there 
is increased demand for the mineral elements, and the suc- 
cessful poultryman will see that there is no deficiency in 
this respect in the ration. The mineral matter in the body of 
the fowl is largely phosphate of lime, while the egg shell is 
almost entirely carbonate of lime. 

Ground bone is the most available form in which to fur- 
nish the mineral matter for body growth. Eapidly growing 
young chickens require much mineral matter in the form 
of lime phosphates which are found in bone. It is different 
in the case of the laying hen. The shell of the egg is almost 
all carbonate of lime and this is found in its most available 
form in oyster shells. 

But little is known of the effects of the specific mineral 
elements, phosphorus, iron and sulphur, on production or 
growth. It will be a distinct advance in the practice of 
feeding when more definite knowledge has been gained of 
the part played in the economy of feeding by these dif- 
ferent mineral compounds of ash. 

Protein is the most valuable part of the food, because, 
though it is found in all poultry foods, it is not found in 
the cheaper foods in sufficient amount for the needs of the 
fowl, especially the laying fowl. Foods containing a high 
percentage of protein are usually the most expensive. Pro- 
tein makes the lean meat and the muscle and a large per- 
centage of the contents of the egg. The white of the egg, 
lean meat, gluten of the flour, and milk casein are practi- 
cally all protein. 

The value of the food must be determined largely by the 
amount of protein which it contains, and high prices should 
not be paid for food of any kind unless it has a guaranteed 
analysis of high protein content. Generally speaking, foods 


are cheap or dear in proportion as they contain a high or 
low percentage of protein. 

Carbohydrates and Fats furnish the fat of the body and 
of the egg. From them are derived the heat necessary to 
keep up the temperature of the body. They are burned 
in the body to furnish the heat and also the energy. It 
requires energy to digest food; it requires energy to walk 
and to fly and to scratch, just as it requires steam to drive 


Showing the amount and sources of the different chemical constituents. 

the steam engine ; and a considerable amount of food in the 
form of carbohydrates and fat is used to produce this en- 
ergy. Most poultry foods contain a larger percentage of 
carbohydrates and fat for egg production than is necessary, 
while there is usually a deficiency of protein. To what ex- 
tent fat in the food influences the egg yield is not definitely 
known. In experiments by the writer rations containing 
a liberal amount of fat gave a better yield than others of 
little fat. The experiments have shown that fowls eat 










N-Free Extract Fat 















Kaffir Corn 










































Cow peas 



































Wheat bran 







Wheat middlings 







Wheat shorts 







Linseed meal 

(N. P.) 







Gluten meal 







Cottonseed meal. 







Soy bean meal . . 







Brewers' dried 
















Clover (Red) 




























Mangel Wurzel.. 














Sugar beet 







Dried beet pulp.. 





























Skim milk 











.. . 










Cottage cheese.. . 







Milk Albumen... 







Beef scrap 




.. . 



Cut bone 







Dried blood 







Dried fish 







more food during the cold weather than during the warm. 
This is because it requires more food to keep up the heat of 
the body, and for heat-producing purposes cheap fat foods 
serve the purpose as well as expensive protein foods. 

Nutritive Ratio. The hardest problem, therefore, in 
poultry feeding is to compound suitable rations containing 
the necessary protein in its most available form and at 
reasonable cost for heavy production. The nutritive ratio 
is the ratio of digestible protein to digestible fat and heat- 
producing foods. For egg production a narrow nutritive 
ratio should be fed. A ratio of one of protein to four or five 
of carbohydrates and fat is a narrow ratio and will give good 
results in egg production. In figuring the ratio the fat is 
multiplied by 2^ as it is estimated that one pound of fat 
is equal to 2% pounds of carbohydrates. 

It should be understood, however, that the nutritive ratio 
in itself does not necessarily indicate the true value of the 
ration. Palatability and other factors have to be consider- 
ed. At the Utah Station two rations having the same nutri- 
tive ratio were fed to two different pens of fowls for a year. 
One of them gave a yield of 201 eggs per fowl; the other 
133. There was a difference in the kind of the food, but not in 
the nutritive ratio. Two other pens having rations of simi- 
lar nutritive ratio gave yields of 101 and 143 eggs respec- 
tively. At the West Virginia Station laying hens fed a 
narrow ratio, or nitrogenous ration, produced 17,459 eggs, 
while the pens with a wide, or carbonaceous ration, laid 
9,708 eggs. During the experiment the former fowls gained 
in live weight 1 pound 4 ounces each, while the latter gain- 
ed only about one-tenth of a pound each, Other experi- 
ments have shown the superiority of the narrow ratio, or 
the ration rich in protein or nitrogen. 

The proper nutritive ratio, however, does not guarantee 
a good egg yield. Regard must be had to the kind of foods 


fed, and the feeder must be guided by the results of feeding 
tests that indicate the feeding value of different foods. 

It has been shown, for example, that there is a difference 
in the protein. Fowls require a certain amount of protein 
in the ration, but to be effective in egg yield part of 
that protein must come from animal sources. It is protein 
just the same, but why there should be this difference in 
feeding value between animal and vegetable protein is not 
yet known. 

Experiments by Wheeler showed that an animal food ra- 
tion for laying hens was superior to others in which all the 
organic matter was derived from vegetable sources, and for 
growing ducklings very much superior. In the case of 
growing chicks where bone ash was fed in the place of ani- 
mal food the results were equally satisfactory. (Geneva 
Bulletin 171.) 

In New Jersey experiments (Bulletin 265) it was found 
that : ' ' The addition of animal protein in the form of meat 
scrap materially increases the efficiency of a ration 
relatively high in vegetable protein, both for egg produc- 
tion and for flesh growth, " and that: "Phosphoric acid 
from an organic source (animal bone) is much more ef- 
ficient than phosphoric acid from an inorganic scource. " 

(The analyses of the fowls include the feathers, bones, blood, etc.) 

Water Ash Protein grates Fat 

Hen 55.8 3.8 21.6 .. 17 

Pullet ' 55.4 3.4 21.2 .. 18 

Capon 41.6 3.7 19.4 .. 33.9 

Fresh egg. . 65.7 12.2 11.4 . . 8.9 

*Prof. W. P. Wheeler, Geneva (N. Y.) Station. 

Computing the Ratio. The nutritive ratio may be com- 


puted as follows : Suppose the ration is 10 pounds wheat, 
3 pounds oats, 2 pounds bran and 1 pound beef scrap. By 
referring to the table of composition of feeds, page 227, it 
will be found that wheat contains 11.9% protein; so that in 
10 pounds wheat there are 1.19 pounds protein ; it contains 
73.7% carbohydrates, and in 10 pounds there are 7.37 
pounds carbohydrates. The percentage of fat is 2.1, or 
0.21 pound fat in 10 pounds wheat. Figuring the other 
foods in the same way, we get the results shown in the 
following table : 

10 Ibs. 3 Us. 3 Us. 1 Ib. beef 












Protein . . 











Fat .. 






To get the nutritive ratio, multiply the total fat by 2*4 
(0.57X2 1 / 4=1.28) . Add this to the carbohydrates (10.76+ 
1.28=12.04). Divide this by the total protein (12.04-^2.49) 
and we get the nutritive ratio of 1 :4.8. In other words, 
this ration contains one pound of protein to 4.8 pounds 
carbohydrates and fat. This is not given as a good ration, 
but simply to show how the nutritive ratio is computed. 
In point of fact, this method of computation is not correct 
because it is figured on the total nutrients, not on the 
amount actually digestible. 

Digestibility of Poultry Foods. In the above compu- 
tation it is seen, for example, that there are 1.19 pounds 
of protein in 10 pounds wheat, but according to Henry's 
compilation of digestion coefficients for livestock, there is 
only 0.88 pound digestible protein in 10 pounds wheat. 
The amounts digested are shown in the following table, 
using the standard coefficients for livestock; 


10 Us. 3 Ibs. 2 Ibs. 1 Ib. beef 

wheat oats bran scrap Total 

Ibs. Ibs. Ibs. Ibs. Ibs. 

Protein 0.88 0.26 0.24 0.61 1.99 

Carbohydrates 6.75 1.47 0.84 .. 9.06 

Fat 0.15 . 0.13 0.05 0.14 0.47 

Eatio 1:5.0 

Foundation of Scientific Feeding. The composition of 
foods affords a means of estimating fairly well the value 
of the food. Foods are usually valuable in proportion as 
they contain a high or a low percentage of protein. For 
instance, a. pound of protein may be worth so much, 
whether it be found in corn or wheat bran. A hundred 
pounds of corn containing 10.5 pounds protein is not worth 
as much as 100 pounds beef scrap containing 60 pounds 
protein. That is the fundamental lesson that the chemical 
analysis of foods teaches. 

Chemistry gave to the world only some fifty years ago a 
feeding standard based upon the chemical composition of 
fot)ds. Previous to that time, as Henry says, "the farmer 
gave his ox hay and corn without the least conception of 
what there was in this provender that nourished animals. ' ' 
The discovery of the vital differences in the amount of 
nutrients in different foods was the foundation of scientific 

Percentage Digested. But that is not all. It was found 
that not only did the foods vary in composition, or total 
nutrients, but a few years later a German scientist formu- 
lated a new standard based, not on total amount of nutrients 
protein, carbohydrates and fat but on the amount or 
percentage of these nutrients digested by the animal. For 
example, there are 3.8 pounds crude protein in corn stover, 
but only 1.4 pounds of that is digestible, or 36%, the rest 
of the protein is wasted. 


58 per cent of the protein of clover is digested 

76 per cent of the protein of corn is digested 

77 per cent of the protein of oats is digested 

89 per cent of the protein of linseed meal is digested 

So do the carbohydrates and fat vary in digestibility in 
different foods. 

The percentages of these nutrients digested by animals 
have been determined for practically all animal foods, and 
tables of digestion coefficients for livestock have been made 
and published. Unfortunately, the same information is 
not available for poultry feeds. It has been assumed that 
the digestibility of feeds will not be the same with poultry 
as with livestock; that poultry may or may not digest the 
food better than livestock ; and that before the digestibility 
of poultry foods may be known digestion experiments must 
be made with poultry. Some work has already been done 
with fowls, but hardly enough to definitely establish feed- 
ing standards. So far the results indicate that the digesti- 
bility of certain foods does not vary much whether fed to 
fowls or to farm animals. 

In the above table the figures for lives cock were used in 
computing the nutritive ratio. 

Digestion Coefficients. This is the term used in speak- 
ing of the percentage of foods that is digestible. The 
digestion experiments that have been made with poultry 
haVe been mainly those by Bartlett of the Maine Station 
(Bulletin 184), Brown of the Bureau of Animal Industry 
(Bulletin 156), and Fields and Ford of the Oklahoma 
Station (Bulletin 46). A table of the digestion coefficients, 
giving the average results of all these analyses, has been 
compiled by Bartlett and published in the Maine Station 
bulletin 184. This includes the results of work of several 
European investigators. 







Bran, wheat 


46 70 

71 70 



Beef scrap 
Beef (lean meat) . . 





67 86 

Buckwheat . . . 






Corn, whole 






Corn, cracked 
Corn, meal 






India wheat 








62 40 

98 39 


























Potato . 





' These results should be taken as more or less tentative 
until further work has been done and the final results based 
on the averages of a great many analyses. 

It is noted with interest that this compilation gives a 
higher coefficient for corn than for wheat. If this finding 
should prove to be final it would mean that the value of the 
protein in the corn was about 8% greater than that of 
wheat; the carbohydrates about 5% greater, and the fat or 
ether extract about 66% greater. These results are not 
presented as final, but rather as a record to date of progress 
in a very important line of research. On the whole, the 
work indicates that the digestibility of foods may not vary 
a great deal whether fed to poultry or to livestock. 


Palatability. It has been pertinently said that it is pos- 
sible to make a mixture of wet leather and a petroleum 
jelly that would give the same result as meat by the ordin- 
ary food analysis. Palatability comes in here. Leather and 
petroleum jelly would scarcely be as palatable as meat, nor 
would it be expected that the one would give as good an 
egg yield as the other. 

Again, while a high digestibility of food is important, 
yet digestibility is not a certain measure of the value of 
the food. Sherman in "Chemistry of Food and Nutrition/' 
says: "Foods similar in chemical composition and equally 
well digested, may or may not be of equal nutritive value, ' ' 
and again : ' l The coefficient of digestibility is but little in- 
fluenced by the palatability of the food." 

Summing Up. We have here three factors there may 
be others that must be taken into account in arriving at 
the true value of a food ; namely, composition, digestibility 
and palatability. While any of these factors, standing 
alone, may not mean much to the feeder, no one of them 
must be disregarded. In proportion as his knowledge cov- 
ers all three factors he will be able to feed intelligently; 
but after all the knowledge that comes from practical feed- 
ing experiments is all important and necessary to a com- 
plete knowledge of the value of any particular ration. 

Digestive Organs. The organs of the fowl concerned 
in digestion of food are shown on p. 235. This photo- 
graph shows the various organs beginning with the man- 
dibles or beak used for picking up food. The tongue moist- 
ens the food with saliva, after which the food passes 
through the esophagus, or gullet, on the way to the crop, 
where it remains about 12 hours. The food is here soften- 
ed and then passes into the stomach where it is mixed with 
gastric juices and passes on into the gizzard. The gizzard 
is the largest organ of the hen, and its office is to crush or 


1, 2. Upper and lower mandibles. 3. Esophagus. 4. Crop. 5. Esophagus. 
6. Stomach. 7. Gizzard. 8. Duodenum. 9. Gall bladder. 10. Spleen. 11. Bile 
ducts. 12. Liver. 13. Small intestine. 14. Ceca. 15. Pancreas. 16. Rectum. 
17. Cloaca. 18. Anus. (Oregon Agricultural College.) 


grind the food. The tough muscular walls of the gizzard 
aided by the grit that the hen picks up takes the place of 
teeth which in domestic animals grind the food. The 
moistened ground grain passes from the gizzard into the 
large intestine, or duodenum, where it is acted upon by 
the pancreatic juices. The bile from the liver also enters 
the duodenum and aids in the digestion of the fats of the 
food. The digestive process is here completed and the di- 
gested portions of the food are absorbed into the blood and 
the waste or indigestible portions forced on to the cloaca. 
The ceca correspond to the appendix in man, and their 
function is not understood. The total length of the diges- 
tive canal from beak to vent is 4 to 5 feet. 

The digestive process of the fowl works with extreme 
rapidity. Investigations have shown that in about two 
days after eating, the food has entered into the making of 
the egg yolk. In two days after being eaten certain foods 
have given a color to the outer layers of egg yolk. 

To keep this complex system of digestion in proper work- 
ing order requires a variety of good food, abundant exer- 
cise, and fresh air in the house. 

What Foods Should be Fed. The table of composition 
of foods contains the names of foods that are used for poul- 
try. This table does not, however, exhaust the list, as there 
are doubtless other foods that are used to a limited extent in 
different localities. The composition of any food not on 
this list may usually be obtained from the experiment 



Among the Grain Foods wheat is more largely used 
for poultry than any other cereal, taking the country over. 
It is a safer food than most other grain foods, and there is 
probably no other cereal that is better relished by the fowls. 
It has a near competitor in corn, and whether the one or 
the other should be fed is largely a question of their prices. 
If fed exclusively on one grain, fowls would probably give 
better results in egg yield on wheat than on corn. Judging 
from the composition, wheat has a slight advantage over 
corn for egg production, while corn is better for fattening. 

It is not a question, however, of one kind of grain ; no one 
should expect a profit from fowls when fed one kind of 
food, no matter what kind of food it may be. "When fed 
in combination with other foods it is an open question 
whether wheat or corn is the more economical to feed at the 
same price per pound for each. No serious mistake will be 
made by the poultryman if he makes the market price the 
basis for selecting wheat or corn. 

Corn is an excellent poultry food. A few years ago 
poultry writers generally advised poultrymen not to feed it 
to laying hens. Chemical analysis had shown it to contain 
more fat-forming elements than wheat, and on this account 
it became very unpopular, and higher priced wheat was fed 
in its place. Later, however, experiment stations, in actual 
feeding tests, showed it to be the equal of wheat when fed 
in proper combinations. The Massachusetts Station secured 
as good, if not better, results in egg yield from corn as from 



But neither wheat nor corn is a perfect ration, and other 
foods must be fed to ''balance" it. It is a waste of food 
and labor to feed either wheat or corn alone. 

It is an interesting fact that those states which are the 
largest producers of corn are the heaviest producers of 
poultry and eggs. This does not, however, prove the 

The chickens will thresh their own grain and save the threshing bill. 

superiority of corn, but it disproves the old notion that 
corn is not a good poultry food. 

Oats. Pound for pound, oats are not worth as much for 
chickens as wheat or corn. Fowls do not relish oats as 
well as those grains. The large amount of hull on the oats 
is an objection. The hulls are largely indigestible. Minus 
the hulls, oats would be an excellent food for laying or 
fattening fowls. Oats are not as fattening as corn or wheat, 
and many poultrymen feed considerable quantities of oats 
to prevent the hens becoming too fat. Special care should 
be used in selecting oats, as they vary a good deal in quality. 
Only heavy, plump oats should be fed. The chief value of 


oats is in furnishing a necessary variety to the ration. This, 
of course, is true of other foods. Hulled oats, if they could 
be obtained at a reasonable price would be superior to corn 
or wheat. 

9 Barley is not extensively fed to poultry. Chickens will 
not eat it if they can get wheat or corn, or, at any rate, they 
will eat but little of it. Where the price is not more than 
that of other grains, a little may be fed to give variety. 
Many poultry feeders use rolled or chopped barley in the 

Wheat Bran. Bran is the outer covering of wheat and 
other grains, separated from the flour in the process of 
milling. "Wheat bran is richer in protein than whole wheat, 
and has considerable ash or mineral matter other than lime. 
Investigations have shown bran to be low in digestibility, 
but nevertheless it is one of the most popular of poultry 
foods. There is no cereal by-product more universally used 
by poultry feeders than bran. Practical experience long 
ago demonstrated its high value for poultry, especially for 
egg production. For fattening it has not the same value. 
Its high feeding value for egg production and for growing 
chickens is undoubtedly due to its high mineral content, as 
well as protein content. It contains also more fat than either 
wheat or barley. These facts, added to its relative cheap- 
ness, make it an economical feed. 

Middlings and Shorts. These are other by-products of 
wheat that are extensively used. They have a high protein 
content compared with the whole wheat, and on this account 
and their relative cheapness make a liberal use of them in 
the mash desirable. Middlings and shorts are composed of 
the finer parts of the bran with some of the coarser parts 
of the flour separated in bolting. 

Peas. Where peas can be grown successfully they should 
be used quite extensively as a poultry food. They are 


richer in protein than any of our common cereals. They 
contain twice the quantity of protein that corn contains, 
and on that account are worth more pound for pound than 
corn or wheat. 

Rye. Rye grain is not a satisfactory poultry food. 
Fowls do not relish it though they eat it in small quantities. 
It lacks palatability. When planted in the yards in the 
fall it furnishes an early green food in the spring. Before 
the grain is fully ripe in the straw the fowls eat it more 
readily, and they may be allowed to thresh the grain out 
of the straw in the yards. 

Rice. Broken rice is used to a considerable extent in 
certain sections as food for small chickens. Rice polish is 
rich in the mineral element phosphorus. 

Linseed Meal. The meal of flaxseed from which the oil 
has been largely extracted in the process of manufacture 
of linseed oil is largely used as a poultry food. Old process 
meal contains more oil than the new process meal, and on 
that account is more valuable. Linseed meal has also a 
high percentage of the mineral compounds phosphorus, 
iron, sulphur and magnesium. It is a rich food and can 
only be used in limited quantities. If it can be purchased 
at a reasonable price, or on the basis of its protein content, 
it may well be used profitably as a part of a laying ration. 

Buckwheat. This is a good poultry food, but its use is 
limited on account of an uncertain supply and its high 
price in most sections. 

Sunflower Seed. The sunflower plant may be profitably 
used for a double purpose. It is largely used for furnish- 
ing shade. The seeds contain a high percentage of oil. 
They ripen about moulting time when foods of a consider- 
able oil content are desirable. The seed may be fed in 
limited amount throughout the year, but during the moult- 
ing season in the growth of new feathers there is an extra 


demand for food of this character. It has been observed 
to give a glossy and attractive appearance to the plumage. 

Animal Foods. The hen is a meat eater. Animal food 
of some kind is necessary for fowls to maintain their health 
and vigor, and to make them productive either in meat or 
eggs. A knowledge of this fact has done more to increase 
the poultryman's profits than any other one thing in poul- 
try feeding. The scarcity of eggs in winter is largely due 
to a lack of animal food. The fact that chickens when 
given the liberty of the fields in summer find animal food 
in the form of bugs, angleworms, grasshoppers, etc., escapes 
the notice of the farmer, and in winter he does not see the 
necessity of feeding it. In most parts of the country, dur- 
ing the winter, chickens are unable to obtain animal food in 
the fields, especially in sections where snow covers the 
ground. In sections with mild and open winters, they find 
many angleworms, especially during the rainy season. 
But in most sections, if not in all, fowls must be liberally 
fed with some kind of animal food to obtain best results. 
, There are a number of forms in which animal food may 
be fed. Fresh, lean meat is undoubtedly the best kind of 
animal food. It is the lean meat that furnishes the protein, 
but there is no objection to having the lean mixed with a 
little fat ; this may be an advantage at times. Fresh meat 
scraps or cut "bone from the butchers' stalls are an ex- 
cellent egg-maker. Some butchers keep a bone cutter and 
sell the meat and bones all ready ground or cut up. When 
one has a sufficient number of hens, say 25 or more, it 
will pay to buy a good bone cutter and cut the bones. The 
scraps contain a large proportion of bone, and the fowls 
eat these very greedily, as well as the meat. They furnish 
the mineral matter necessary for bone making and for egg- 
shell making. 

Skim milk will take the place of animal food if fed 


liberally enough. The trouble with skim milk is that it is 
not concentrated enough; that is, it is largely water, 90 
pounds in a hundred being water. In other words, in 100 
pounds skim milk there are only 10 pounds food. Even 
with milk kept before them all the time to drink, laying 
hens will not get enough of it to supply the demand for 
animal food. If wet mashes are fed, by using skim milk 
to mix the mash they will get more of it in this way. By 
feeding it clabbered the fowls will get more food out of 
it. Probably the best way to feed milk is to make ' ' cottage 
cheese " out of it. This is a splendid food when properly 
made. In that form fowls will consume enough to supply 
the demand for animal food. 

It is made in this way : Set a can of skim milk in a place 
having a temperature of 75 to 80 degrees. In 18 to 24 
hours the milk will coagulate (thicken). Then break up 
into pieces the size of large peas or smaller; set can in a 
pail of hot water, stirring the curd until a temperature of 
90 to 95 degrees is reached; hold at this temperature for 
15 or 20 minutes, without stirring. Then pour the con- 
tents of the can into a cotton sack and hang up where the 
whey can drain off. The milk should not be boiled. Salt 
it a little. It will keep a day or two. 

Buttermilk is largely used in fattening poultry, the 
large fattening establishments using it generally for mixing 
the ground grain. In the feeding of small chicks it has 
special value as a preventive of white diarrhrea. It is also 
profitably used in the laying ration. The mash may be 
mixed with it and the fowls also given all they will drink 
of it. At the Ontario Agricultural College, Professor 
Graham has used it successfully as a substitute for other 
forms of animal food, and also as substitute for water. 
Sour milk has much the same value as buttermilk. By 
withholding water more buttermilk is taken by the fowls. 


Unless they can be made to use large quantities of it, 
enough of the animal nutrients will not be secured to supply 
the need for animal food. In 100 pounds of skim milk or 
buttermilk there are only about 10 pounds of solids or 
food, and this should be considered in arriving at an 
estimate of its value. 

Whey also may be used as a source of animal food, but 
as may be seen in the table of composition of foods, it has a 
lower value than skim milk and buttermilk. 

Milk Albumin. This is a by-product of the manufacture 
of milk sugar. It contains little moisture and a high per- 
centage of protein, but it is low in other nutrients. All 
forms of milk foods lack in mineral matter, also in fat. 
Where milk is used bones should be fed either dry or green 
to furnish the required mineral matter. 

Beef Scrap is the most convenient form in which to 
feed animal food. This is a by-product of the large packing 
houses, and contains meat and bones in varying propor- 
tions which have gone through a boiling and drying process. 
It contains, therefore, little moisture compared with fresh 
meat scraps." It varies considerably in composition, but 
should contain from 50% to 60% protein. Beef scrap varies 
also in quality. It should be light colored with a meaty 
flavor and somewhat oily to the touch. "When boiling 
water is poured over it, it should have a fresh, meaty flavor. 
If it gives off a putrid odor, do not feed it. 

Fish Scrap is coming into use as a substitute for beef 
scrap. Its practical value, however, compared with beef 
scrap has not been experimentally determined, but the 
practice of feeding it is growing, especially on the Pacific 
Coast. The oil being largely removed in its manufacture, 
there is no fishy taste transmitted to the eggs and chickens 
by its use. If fresh fish, however, is liberally eaten there 
will be a distinct flavor given to the egg. 


Green Foods. Green food of some kind is an essential 
part of the ration or diet. The health of the fowls and the 
demands of egg production require it. The lack of a suffi- 
cient supply of green food is one cause of the scarcity of 
eggs in winter. During the summer the farmers' flocks, 
which furnish the markets with the large proportion of 
eggs and poultry, usually find all the green food necessary, 
but in winter, since the farmer does not realize the im- 
portance of providing green food, the chickens do without 
it and we do without the eggs. Spring is the natural laying 
season ; but by seeing to it that the fowls get the same kind 
of food in winter that they do in spring or summer, it is 
.possible to overcome largely the egg famine in winter. 
Fowls should have all the green food they will eat at all 
times. Green food is cheap, or should be grown cheaply 
with good management. 

Green food may be fed in different forms. Clover or 
alfalfa or grass in the fields ; clover leaves or alfalfa leaves 
in the haymow or in the haystack, make excellent green 
food; vetch, peavine, rape, rye, kale, mangels, sugar beets, 
cabbages, lettuce or turnips will fill the bill. It will be 
noticed that these green foods have a larger percentage of 
mineral matter or ash, and of protein, than the grain foods. 
Alfalfa and kale are especially rich in protein and ash. 
Clover, alfalfa, grass, rape, kale and vetch, will give good 
color to the yolk of the egg; beets will not. Alfalfa and 
clover will give eggs of good quality and flavor. Kale, 
cabbages and rape will give a slightly undesirable flavor to 
the eggs if eaten heavily, but not enough to injure their 
selling value materially, if at all. If fed regularly, how- 
ever, so the fowls may eat it at will, there is no evidence 
that an undesirable flavor will be imparted to the egg. 

In western Oregon and the Pacific Coast generally 
thousand-headed kale is probably the most profitable crop 


to grow for winter forage. Here it grows to perfection, 
and an acre may be made to produce 40 tons of green forage. 
For winter green food, kale is transplanted in July from 
seed sown in May or June. For summer forage it is planted 
early in the season. It is possible in western Oregon to 
have green kale the year round. For a flock of one hundred 
hens, about two hundred plants will furnish green food 
enough for a year where the soil has plenty of fertility and 
moisture. The plants should average 20 pounds each. 
The chickens will eat about half the weight of the plant, 
the balance being stalk which they do not use. Cattle will 
eat most of the stalk. Planted in July, the kale may be 
fed from October to April. Planted early in the spring 
from seed sown in the fall, it will be ready for use in the 
summer. In the early part of the season the lower leaves 
may be stripped off and the rest of the plant will continue 
to grow. 

The plants are set about 3 feet apart each way. A very 
small piece of ground, therefore, will grow enough kale 
(or one hundred hens. A strip of good land 16 feet wide 
and 100 feet long should furnish enough green feed in the 
form of kale for one hundred hens. At that rate, an acre 
of kale will furnish green food for 2,000 hens throughout 
the year. Kale may also be utilized for shade for fowls. 
Where fowls are yarded, by having double yards, it is 
possible where kale grows the year around to make it 
furnish the green food and shade all the year. Kale will 
keep the yards in sanitary condition, turning the manure 
and filth into a revenue. 

Vetch and Oats. This makes a good combination for 
early spring green feed in sections where vetch grows well. 
Vetch is a leguminous crop, like clover and alfalfa. 

Beets. Sugar beets and mangel-wurzels are used by 
many poultrymen for green food. The tops may be fed 


green and the beets stored for winter use. One peculiarity 
of beets is that they do not furnish the coloring matter for 
the egg yolk, as do clover, alfalfa, kale, and other greens. 
In case the yolk is too highly colored, beets may be sub- 
stituted for part of the other green feed that is responsible 
for the color. 

Beet Pulp. Dried beet pulp is now used to a consider- 
able extent in stock feeding. It may be used as green food 
for poultry. In addition to its value as a succulent food, 
it contains a fairly high percentage of mineral matter. 
This makes it of more value than some other green foods. 
There is little authoritative data on the subject of beet 
pulp as a poultry feed, and at the present time it should 
be used experimentally. 

Sprouted Oats. Sprouted oats may be resorted to 
where other forms of green feed are not available. This 
green food is very greatly relished by the fowls. 

Oats and Peas. "Oats and peas sown together very 
thinly, with a liberal seeding of red clover and a very little 
rape, make a good combination. The oats and peas furnish 
a rapid growth of green food, a good deal of which will get 
tramped down and some will go to seed, but it will serve 
to protect the clover and rape, which will make good food 
for the late summer and fall pasturage. Three pecks of 
oats, two pecks of peas, one pint of rape seed and five quarts 
of red clover seed will be a good proportion for seeding. 
The oats and peas should first be harrowed in deeply, then 
the clover and rape seed should be mixed and sown, then 
lightly scratched in with a weeder." PROF. JAMES E. RICE. 

Potatoes may sometimes be fed for variety, if boiled and 
mixed with mash, but they are not a good egg food; they 
are better fitted for fattening. 

Cabbages are very much relished. Apples of sour 
varieties should be sparingly fed to poultry. On the whole, 


clover and alfalfa are probably the most satisfactory green 
food we have. In coast regions, where it grows throughout 
the year, the thousand-headed kale by reason of its heavy 
yielding quality is probably the most profitable green food 
to grow. But it may be supplemented by other green food 
such as clover, alfalfa or lawn clippings. 

Grit. ' l The hen coins silver out of sand. ' ' The chickens 
need grit as well as the poultryman, but of a different kind. 
There are two views about chicken grit, and I do not pre- 
tend to reconcile them. One view is that the -chief function 
of grit is to grind the food; the other is that grit itself is 
food. Whatever the function, we know that grit is a neces- 
sary part of the diet, and the health and productiveness of 
the fowls require a liberal consumption of grit. On most 
farms, where the fowls have the liberty of the fields, they 
will pick up all the grit necessary, but on soils having little 
or no sand or gravel, and where the fowls are confined in 
yards, it is absolutely necessary to furnish grit just as 
regularly as food. With a gravel bed located near the 
'poultry * yards, the grit question is easily and cheaply 
solved. Give them plenty of sharp gravel and sand to work 
over. Where this is not available, grit may be cheaply 
purchased at the poultry supply houses. Keep it where 
the hens can get it at any time. 

Egg-shell Material. Ordinary grit probably furnishes 
material for egg shells, but in addition it will be found ad- 
visable to feed special shell material. The grains do not con- 
tain lime enough to furnish sufficient shell material for 
heavy laying hens. Ordinary sea shells and especially oyster 
shells are largely used for this purpose. They are very 
readily dissolved in the gizzard. The egg-eating habit 
among hens is sometimes acquired because of a scarcity of 
lime or shell material in the ration. 

Charcoal is a bowel regulator, and most of the successful 


poultrymen feed it regularly. It may be kept in a box or 
hopper where the fowls can eat it at will. Salt is an aid to 
digestion. It may be fed at the rate of about an ounce or 
two ounces per day to one hundred hens. 

Pepper is stimulating and should not be fed except in 
very small amounts. Hens in good health do not need it. 
It is sometimes useful in case of sickness in the flock. If 
the flock should be afflicted with colds a little red pepper 
may be mixed in the soft feed. 



While a knowledge of the composition of foods should 
be possessed in order to feed successfully, it is equally 
important that there should be a knowledge of how to feed. 
It is not sufficient that the poultryman should have all the 
best available poultry foods. He may have all the neces- 
sary foods, and fail in the purpose for which he feeds. The 
laying hens may have all the best available foods and yet 
refuse to lay eggs unless the food comes to them in a cer- 
tain way. Success in feeding for egg production will be 
measured largely by the methods followed in feeding. 

Exercise and Activity. The secret, if there be any 
secret, in how to feed to get eggs is to feed in such a way 
that the natural activity of the . hen may be maintained. 
In the production of flesh or meat in domestic animals as 
well as in poultry, activity or exercise counts for little, nor 
is exercise so important for the cow that is producing milk, 
but activity is the life of the hen. She is given toe-nails to 
scratch with, legs to walk with, wings to fly with. If there 
is any one characteristic more than another that indicates 
the good layer, it is the active use of those organs in her 
every-day life. 

The vigor of the hen comes largely from her activity, and 
it is the vigorous hen that lays. The reason hens on free 
range often do better than others confined in yards, is 
largely because of the active life they live. Under the 
free-range system the poultryman need concern himself 
little on this point, but when fowls are confined in yards, 



which is an artificial condition, great care must be taken 
to furnish the exercise or the incentive to exercise. A hen 
that ' t stands around ' ' all day, only exerting herself enough 
to eat out of a hopper, is an unproductive hen. 

The exercise is best furnished by providing a roomy 
scratching floor or shed covered with a deep litter of straw. 
This may be from 8 to 12 inches deep, and should be kept 
reasonably dry. The whole grain food should be scattered 
in this straw. There will be no waste in this, as the fowls 
will find about every kernel. The skill of the poultryman 
comes in feeding enough at a time, without having to feed 
too often, to keep the hens busy at work a large portion of 
the day. If too much is given at a feed the fowls will soon 
satisfy their appetites, while if too little is given they will 
soon clean it up and there will be nothing to scratch for. 
It is not necessary to keep them scratching all day. Leg- 
horns, for instance, will do nearly as well when fed in a 
hopper or box. If they have a yard and a floor they will 
exercise themselves whether compelled to dig for their 
food or not. Forced exercise, however, is necessary for 
the larger or less active breeds. 

In an experiment three pullets kept in a small pen on a 
board floor without any litter, laid 116 eggs in a year, an 
average of 38 2-3 eggs each. One of these was a Leghorn 
pullet which laid 52 eggs. Leghorns fed in straw averaged 
169 per fowl, and others fed in boxes or hoppers averaged 
161. Both were kept in pens without floors and had access 
to an outside yard. They exercised a good deal by scratch- 
ing in the earth. Two pens of Plymouth Rocks averaged 
141 fed in straw, and two fed in boxes averaged 118 eggs 
each. In each case the ration was the same. It is seen that 
the method of feeding was responsible for a variation in 
yield of from 38 eggs per fowl to 169. The experiment 
showed that no exercise, or forced idleness, was ruinous 


both to production and to health of fowls. Second, it 
showed that Leghorns, or the active breeds, will do well 
even though they are not forced to scratch; but that the 
heavier breeds need some ' ' forced ' ' exercise. 

Feeding yarded fowls in the litter, therefore, is a de- 
cided advantage with some breeds, and it is an advantage 
with any breed. A Leghorn given the liberty of a yard 
and a floor to scratch on, even though all grain be fed in a 
hopper or box, will take exercise enough to produce fairly 
well. The chief disadvantage of feeding in the litter is 
that the grain is liable to become contaminated with the 
droppings of the fowls, which is a fruitful method of carry- 
ing disease from one fowl to another. This method, how- 
ever, is usually necessary with most fowls, and with care in 
renewing the straw often enough, little danger need be 
feared from this source. The droppings from the fowls at 
night should not be permitted to mingle with the litter. 

Ground or Unground Grain. It pays to feed part of 
the grain ground. It is a saving of energy, and energy is 
furnished by the food ; therefore, it will save food to grind 
some of the grain for the fowls. Ground food is more 
quickly digested and assimilated than whole. The hen can 
manufacture the eggs faster with ground food than with 
whole grain. Experiments by "Wheeler showed that fowls 
having half their grain ground and moistened required 
20% less food to produce a dozen eggs than fowls having 
all whole grain. Fowls, however, relish the whole grain, 
or a large percentage of it whole. Probably one-third of 
the grain ground would be a safe limit to feed. The danger 
in feeding one-half or more of it ground would be that the 
fowls would be liable to lose appetite and not eat enough 
to fill the demand for heavy egg yield. 

Best Time to Feed Wet Mash. If fed heavily on wet 
mash in the morning, the fowls would gorge themselves and 


would not be as active the rest of the day as if fed a light 
feed of grain in the litter in the morning. A good feed of 
mash about an hour before going to roost, followed by a 
feed of whole grain, will give satisfactory results. In cold 
weather especially the practice of feeding whole grain 
liberally the last feed of the day is a good one. "Whole 
grain will "stay with them" better throughout the long, 
cold night than mash, and keep up the heat of the body 
better. It will save feeding in the morning if at the last 
feed at night enough grain is thrown on the litter to more 
than satisfy the fowls, and leave some for them to begin 
scratching for in the morning. Where wet mash is fed 
the first thing in the morning, this should not be done. The 
writer prefers to feed the mash in the morning, just as soon 
as the fowls come from the roost, but to feed only as much 
as they will eat up readily so they will go to work scratch- 
ing in the straw for the whole grain. It is not so material 
at what time of the day the soft food is fed, as it is that the 
fowls be kept active and retain their appetites. 

Length of Day and Egg Yield. There is no doubt some 
connection between the lower egg yield in winter and the 
shorter days. When the spring comes and the feeding day 
lengthens there is an increase in production. Some of this 
increase is probably due to the longer period of activity 
and the necessarily greater consumption of food. Some 
support is given to this theory by recent private experi- 
ments in the use of electric light in the poultry house. It 
is a point worthy of further investigation. 

Wet versus Dry Mash. Dry feeding saves labor. Fowls 
relish the wet mash better. Wet mash economizes in the 
ration. By feeding the mash dry, it may be fed once a 
week in hoppers. When fed moist it must be fed once a 
day. Fowls will eat wet mash more greedily than dry, and 
for that reason more care is required in feeding it. If 


given too much, they will gorge themselves and stand 
around lazily most of the day; this should be guarded 
against. Where skim milk is available it is possible to 
cheapen the ration by feeding wet mash. Cheap by- 
products, such as bran and middlings, may be made to 
make up a large proportion of the ration by mixing them 
with milk. By making a mash with milk, more milk may 
be fed to the fowls. It will also cheapen the ration where 
skim milk is cheap by saving on higher-priced animal foods. 
Where heavy feeding of ground grain is desired, it should 
be fed wet. On the majority of the large poultry ranches 
of the Petaluma, Cal., and of the Little Compton, R. I., 
districts the wet mash method is used. 

When skillfully fed, the wet mash will give better re- 
sults in egg yield than dry. The high egg records of the 
Oregon Station were secured by wet mash feeding. Results 
of experiments by Rice are slightly in favor of dry mash. 
Gowell also secured results favorable to dry feeding. In 
mixing wet mash, enough water or milk should be used to 
make the mash crumbly. It should not be sloppy. Usually 
about as much ground grain, by weight, as milk or water 
will be about right. 

The results in feeding mash do not depend upon the 
moisture or lack of moisture in it, but upon the amount of 
ground grain consumed. It matters little whether the water 
is put into it by the feeder, or whether the hen herself 
drinks the water from the creek or the water fountain. 

Feeding Dry Mash. The dry mash is fed in hoppers 
large enough for a week's supply or more, and the fowls 
allowed to eat it at will. The dry mash may have the same 
composition as the dry material in the wet, but about 10% 
of its weight should be beef scrap. The fowls will eat it 
more readily then. Without the beef scrap they will not 
eat enough of the ground grain. In addition a hopper of 


beef scrap may be kept before them all the time. This will 
insure that they get enough of tlie animal food. 

Cut Bones may be fed every day, or three times a week, 
as much as the fowls will clean up in 15 minutes. Three to 
four ounces per hen per week is about right. More will 
be consumed during heavy laying than at other times. 

Cooking Food. It does not pay usually to cook feeds. 
Most feeds give better results when fed raw. Starchy 
feeds, such as potatoes, are improved by cooking, but usually 
it is better not to cook feeds. In feeding raw meat foods, 
there is some danger of the fowls contracting disease. If 
liver or lights are fed, they should be boiled to kill any 
disease germs there may be in them. Digestion experiments 
at Geneva (New York Report, 1885), show that the digesti- 
bility of the protein in several of the common stock feeds 
was injured by cooking. 

Hopper Feeding. There are two fundamental consider- 
ations in methods of feeding. The first is the method of 
weighing out at each feeding a certain definite amount of 
feed. The second allows the hen herself to make good from 
the hopper any lack of nutrients of any particular kind. 
The writer believes it imperative that the hen be allowed 
considerable latitude in satisfying her wants and in making 
good any shortage of at least the mineral and animal feed 
in the ration. It is not conceivable that in a flock of one 
hundred hens where the individual egg production varies, 
as we know it does, the same amount and kind of feed will 
satisfy all of them. The heavy producer requires more of 
the animal protein foods and more of the mineral, and the 
only practicable method is to furnish those nutrients 
ad libitum to the flock. 

No Hard and Fast Rules. In what has gone before the 
attempt has been made to give to the reader in concise form 
information in regard to the general principles of feeding, 




This hopper has four divisions for different 
foods. The fowls do not pull the feed out of it 
onto the ground. (Designed by C. C. Lamb.) 

and the composi- 
tion and values of 
various foods. It is 
not presumed t o 
lay down any hard 
and fast rules 
which must be fol- 
lowed by the poul- 
try feeder. 

The Food Re- 
quirements vary 
and methods o f 
feeding- vary in 
different sec tions 
of the country and 
even on different 
farms in the same 
section. A large latitude must be allowed the individual 
farmer or poultry-keeper. The highest success will not be 
attained .where the 
poultryman is con- 
tent to follow set 
rules and blindly at- 
tempt to make his 
conditions and en- 
vironment conform 
to the feed rations 
rather than make 
the rations conform 
to his special condi- 
tions. II av i n g a 
knowledge of foods 


and principles of FOOD HOPPER 

feeding, and the Showing inside construction. 


food requirements of the fowl, he is master of the situation 
and will be able to formulate rations that will give him the 
most profitable returns. 

The Price of Foods will largely govern choice of a 
ration. Profitable poultry production is not a question of 
the best foods any more than it is a question of the cheapest 
foods. That is to say, the best foods from the standpoint 
of composition and palatability may produce more eggs 
or more meat but may produce less profit than other foods 
that are not so valuable, pound for pound, on account of 
their lower cost. The feed bill may be so high that the 
poultryman is robbed of his profits. No one kind of food 
is so essential that the poultryman must feed it no matter 
what its price may be. If this one fact were thoroughly 
understood and acted upon it would save probably millions 
of dollars to the poultry-keepers of the country. 

Rations. With this understanding a few sample rations 
for egg production are here given. The weights of feed 
are in pounds, and are figured on the basis of one average 
hen for one year. It will be understood that these amounts 
will vary, first, as the size of hen varies ; second, as produc- 
tion varies, and third, as the climate or temperature varies. 
The amounts given approximate closely the amounts re- 
quired in egg production. The safe rule to follow is to in- 
crease or decrease these amounts daily as demanded by the 
fowls. There must be no stinting of food if a steady pro- 
duction of eggs is to be maintained. 

The choice of animal food is left to the feeder, 50 pounds 
skim milk or buttermilk, 10 pounds cut bones, and 5 pounds 
beef scrap being estimated as of about equal value. The 
same is true of green food, 15 pounds of green alfalfa or 
clover being equal in value to 20 pounds kale. This does 
not exhaust the list of animal food nor of green food. It 
may be, for example, that fish scrap is more available in 



some sections, and various kinds of green feed may be fed 
with satisfactory results. Such, foods are discussed in 
another place. 


Number of Ration 
















. . 





. . 

. . 





. . 




Linseed Meal . . 

. . 

. . 

. . 



Skim Milk, But- 

termilk (with 

dry bone) . . . 






Cut Bone 






Beef Scrap . . . 






Vetch, Alfalfa, 













Oyster Shell . . . 






Salt . 








Water 8.12 pounds 

Ash 2.14 

Protein 13.32 " 

Carbohydrates 48.33 " 

Fat 3.09 " 

Total 75.00 " 

Ratio of protein to carbohydrates and fat 1 : 4.14 

It is estimated that 30 pounds milk is about all that a 
hen will ordinarily consume in a year. If no water is 
given, the fowls will use a great deal more milk or butter- 
milk, probably enough to supply the full demand for animal 


Under farm conditions, however, where fowls have free 
range and find a good deal of animal food in the fields, 30 
pounds should be sufficient. They should have access to it at 
all times. The amount they will consume will be governed 
in part by the amount of insects found in the fields. By 
making the milk into cottage cheese and feeding the fowls 
all they will eat of it, they will get all the animal food re- 
quired. Milk when closely skimmed has very little fat, 
while bones and beef scrap have a large amount of fat ; it 
can, therefore, be fed to advantage in rations that in other 
respects are richer in fat than would be necessary or ad- 
visable where cut bones are fed. Good fresh cut bones fed 
regularly will give better results than either milk or beef 
scrap, but the cost is sometimes prohibitory, and there is 
danger of the meat not being fresh. "Where milk is used as 
animal food it should be supplemented with dry or ground 
bone that will furnish the necessary mineral matter that is 
lacking in the milk. 

It is not very material what kind of green food is fed. 
The important thing is to give the fowls all they will eat. 
Alfalfa and clover have about equal feeding value. In 
winter, alfalfa and clover leaves make good green food. 
Kale has a higher percentage of water than green alfalfa 
or clover or vetch. 

The table gives five rations, numbered from 1 to 5. No. 
1 is rated as the poorest and No. 5 the best. Corn is the 
only grain in ration 1. In No. 2 wheat is fed in place of 
corn, but in other respects they are the same. Number 2 
is placed ahead of No. 1 because it has slightly more pro- 
tein. Both of them are deficient in the egg-making material, 
protein. Though not an ideal ration by any means, either 
1 or 2 would be an improvement on many rations fed on 
the farms, but for heavy egg production neither has enough 
protein. No. 3 is better than Nos. 1 or 2 because it has a 
variety of grains and a little more protein. Nos. 4 and 5 


should give a heavy egg yield if properly fed. They are 
equal in protein, but No. 5 has more fat than 4. Corn, 
which has more fat than wheat, should be fed more liberally 
during the cold weather than during the summer. Ration 
5 therefore should be a better winter ration than 4. 

How to Feed the Rations. To get the best results from 
rations 1 and 2 the fowls should have free range on the 
farm. These rations would be altogether impracticable for 
yarded fowls. A light feed of corn or wheat should be 
given in the morning, and all they will eat up at night. 
If the fields contain bugs and worms and other animal food 
they will get exercise hunting and scratching. There will 
be weed seeds and waste grains of different kinds at differ- 
ent seasons and these will give them incentive to exercise, 
and at the same time help to balance the ration. Under 
such conditions it would be possible to secure a fairly good 
egg yield from rations 1 and 2. 

But where other grains may be secured it would be a 
serious mistake to confine the feeding to such rations. 
These two rations may be very much improved by the 
simple method of keeping a hopper of dry bran accessible 
to the fowls at all times. They would be further improved 
by adding a little middlings or shorts and a small amount 
of linseed meal to the bran in the hopper. This would 
give us ration No. 3. Adding the bran, middlings and lin- 
seed would cut down the amount of wheat necessary. This 
makes a very good ration for the general farm. It is prac- 
tically a balanced ration, at any rate it gives the hen the 
opportunity to balance her ration ; besides it requires very 
little labor in the feeding. If cheaper than wheat, corn 
may be substituted for wheat. 

Ration No. 4 is an improvement on ration 3. Ten 
pounds of corn is substituted for 10 pounds of wheat. Even 
if corn costs a few cents more per bushel than wheat, it will 


pay to feed this quantity. Ration 5 is an improvement on 
No. 4. If corn is as cheap or cheaper than wheat this 
ration should be fed. 

The Mash Feeding. If it is desired to feed a dry mash, 
the bran, middlings and linseed should be put together in 
a hopper where the fowls can help themselves at will. The 
hopper should never be empty. It will improve the dry 
mash still further if beef scrap be added, using from 10 to 
15 pounds in 100 pounds mash. This will induce the fowls 
to eat more of the dry mixture. Where milk constitutes 
the animal food, it will be better to use a soft mash, mixing 
it with milk ; also keeping milk where the fowls can drink 
it whenever they want it. If no milk is available and the 
mash is moistened with water, a hopper of beef scrap should 
be supplied. In place of beef scrap, cut bones may be fed. 
There is. no danger in the fowls eating too much beef scrap, 
assuming of course that its quality is good. The only 
danger is in permitting the hopper to get empty, for, after 
being without animal feed for a few days, they will eat too 
much of it when it is given to them again. 

Five pounds beef scrap is given as the amount necessary 
for an average laying hen for a year. This amount will 
vary with different hens. The fowls may not eat 2 or 3 
pounds, or they may eat 6 or 7, but it is safe to permit each 
hen to eat just what she requires. 

Oregon Station Method. Ration No. 4 is practically 
the one used at the Oregon Station. The mash is fed moist. 
Sour milk or buttermilk is used in mixing it, a little more 
milk than ground grain being used. 

On account of the high prices of corn some years, less of 
it has been used than is shown in table. Unless corn gets 
down to about the price of wheat, the corn that is fed is 
ground and put in the mash. The whole grains are then 
wheat and oats. 


The mash used during the year 1912-13 was as follows 
by weight: 

Bran 4 parts 

Middlings 1 part 

Ground Barley 1 part 

Ground Corn 1 part 

Linseed Meal V<z part 

Milk 8 parts 

Salt is added at the rate of about 4 ounces per hen per 
year. The proportion of bran is reduced in case the drop- 
pings show a watery condition. 

The mash is thoroughly mixed and fed as soon in the 
morning as the fowls are ready to eat and before they have 
had anything else. The amount of mash, dry material, 
averages about one ounce per hen per day. The amount 
fed does not vary very much from morning to morning, but 
if there should be any left in the trough for more than an 
hour after feeding, it is taken away and next day less is 
fed. Then the amount is increased as their appetite for 
mash increases, until they are getting the normal amount. 
The idea is to get them to eat as much as possible in about 
an hour. 

The Skill of the Feeder comes in largely in so feeding 
that the fowls will eat the required amount of the mash 
of ground grains. A heavy laying hen requires a full crop 
of grain at night, but there should not be any whole grain 
left over night for them to eat in the morning, otherwise 
enough mash will not be eaten. 

Feeding the Oats. About ten to eleven o'clock a feed 
of oats is given. This is thrown in the litter, just enough 
to keep the fowls busy scratching for an hour or two. 

Feeding the Wheat. In the afternoon or evening, or 
between two and three o'clock during the short days, be- 


tween three and four in the long days, whole wheat is fed 
in the litter, as much as the fowls will clean up before 
going to roost, and they must have as much as they will 
eat, and no more. 

Beef Scrap is kept in a hopper all the time, care being 
taken that the hopper never gets empty before being re- 
filled. In addition, fresh cut bone is fed three times a week, 
about an ounce per week per fowl. 

Oyster Shell, Charcoal and Grit are also kept in sep- 
arate hoppers. 

Green Food is before the fowls all the time. It is usually 
kale. They help themselves at will. A head of kale is hung 
up fresh in the morning, and they pick at it whenever they 
want it. This is supplemented at different seasons by vetch, 
clover, and other green stuffs that grow in the yards. The 
fowls are changed twice a year to clean ground and green 
stuff is growing in the yard when the fowls are put into it. 

Cleanliness. It is important that feeding troughs and 
drinking vessels be kept clean. They should be scalded 
frequently with boiling water. Do not throw feed on dirty, 
filthy ground. 

Changing the Ration. Radical changes in the ration 
should be avoided. The feeder should first map out his 
system of feeding and stay by it. Remember that the food 
is not everything, and when the fowls are not laying do not 
conclude that it is the fault of the ration unless you have 
definite knowledge that it is. A sudden change to new 
food, even though the new food may be better than the old, 
will check egg production for a considerable time. If 
changes are to be made, it is better to make them gradually. 

Regularity. Stated times should be given to the feed- 
ing. A " feast and a starve" will not satisfy the laying 
hen. During the winter the hen should go to roost with a 
full supper to sustain her through the long night, and just 


as early as she can see to eat in the morning her breakfast 
should be ready. 

Summing Up. Feed wholesome food; feed liberally; 
feed regularly ; feed a variety. After that, the only secret 
in feeding is to feed activity into the hen. 

Cornell Rations for Laying Hens. The following whole 
grain mixture is fed morning and afternoon in a straw 
litter : 

By weight By weight 

Winter Summer 

60 Ibs. wheat 60 Ibs. wheat 

60 Ibs. corn 60 Ibs. corn 

30 Ibs. oats 30 Ibs. oats 
30 Ibs. buckwheat 

The following mash is fed dry in a hopper kept open dur- 
ing the afternoon only : 

By Weight By Measure 

Winter and Summer Winter and Summer 

60 Ibs. corn meal 57 qts. corn meal 

60 Ibs. wheat middlings 71 qts. wheat middlings 

30 Ibs. wheat bran 57 qts. wheat bran 

10 Ibs. alfalfa meal 20 qts.. alfalfa meal 

10 Ibs. oil meal 8 qts. oil meal 

50 Ibs. beef scrap 43 qts. beef scrap 

1 Ib. salt y 2 qt. salt 

The fowls should eat about one-half as much mash by 
weight as whole grain. Regulate the proportion of grain 
and ground feed by giving a light feeding of grain in the 
morning and about all they will consume at the afternoon 
feeding (in time to find grain before dark). In the case 
of pullets or fowls in heavy laying, restrict both night and 
morning feeding to induce heavy eating of dry mash, espe- 
cially in the case of hens. This ration should be supple- 
mented with beets, cabbage, sprouted oats, green clover or 


other succulent food, unless running on grass-covered 
range. Grit, cracked oyster shell and charcoal should be 
accessible at all times. Green food should not be fed in a 
frozen condition. All feed and litter used should be strictly 
sweet, clean and free from mustiness, mould or decay. 























o !p 


e S 






'I Ss 








Whole egg as 

purchased .... 11.2 






Whole egg, edible 



















Whole egg boiled, 

edible portion 







hen 's egg .... 







Cheese as pur- 

chased .... 







Sirloin steak as 

purchased .... 12.8 






Sirloin steak, 

edible portion 













Oysters in shell 

as purchased.. 81.4 







Oysters, edible 








Wheat flour 







Potatoes, as 

purchased .... 20 







Potatoes, edible 









Different rations may be successfully fed to chicks. The 
following have been tried and are recommended by the 
respective stations: 

Oregon Station Ration 

Starting food Grain mixture Mash mixture 

Bran mixed crumbly 1 Ib. cracked wheat 3 Ibs. wheat bran 
with soft-boiled egg; 1 Ib. cracked corn lib. wheat middlings 
or stale bread or shorts 

squeezed dry out of 1 Ib. corn meal 

milk. Pinch of salt added 

when mixing 


First Week. Starting food twice a day; grain mixture 
three times a day on clean sand; after two or three days, 
grain in litter; clean water; grit, charcoal, cracked bone, 
in separate dishes ; green food. 

One to Three Weeks. One feed a day of moist mash, 
what they will clean up in an hour ; grain mixture in litter 
two or three times a day ; grit, charcoal, cracked bone, and 
beef scrap in hoppers ; water ; green food. 

Three to Six Weeks. Morning feed of moist mash; two 
feeds of grain mixture ; dry middlings in a hopper, if signs 
of diarrhoea appear ; hopper-fed beef scrap ; water, grit, 
charcoal, cracked bone, always available; milk to drink; 
green food. 

After Six Weeks or On Range. Morning meal of moist 
mash; two feeds of grain mixture; milk (or beef scrap), 
charcoal, grit, bone, water. Oats may be added to the grain 
mixture, if desired; the proportion of wheat may be in- 
creased or decreased as it becomes lower or higher in price 
than corn. 



Starting food 
8 Ibs. rolled oats 
8 Ibs. bread crumbs 
2 Ibs. sifted beef 


1 Ib. bone meal 
Moistened with 

skim milk. 

Cornell Ration 
Grain mixture 
3 Ibs. wheat 
2 Ibs. corn 
1 Ib. hulled oats 

Fine cracked for 
the youngest chicks; 
whole wheat and 
hulled oats and larger 
cracked corn for 
older chicks ; oats 
omitted for range 

Mash mixture 
3 Ibs. wheat bran 
3 Ibs. wheat mid- 

3 Ibs. corn meal 
3 Ibs. beef scrap 
1 Ib. bone meal 

Fed dry from 
first meal ; moist, 
and dry after 
five days. 


First Five Days. Starting food five times a day, what 
they will eat in 15 minutes; grain mixture in tray of dry 
mash always available; fine grit, charcoal, bone, and green 
food scattered over other food ; water. 

After Five Days. Grain twice a day in litter; scanty 
feed of moist mash three times a day ; as chicks grow older, 
two feeds of moist mash, then only one at noon; water, 
grit, charcoal, cracked bone, always at hand, and hopper- 
fed beef scrap if desired ; milk to drink. Chicks should be 
hungry once a day, preferably in the morning. 

On Range. Grain, dry mash, beef scrap, grit, shell, bone, 
water, always at hand. One meal of moist mash if desired. 

Maine Station Method 

Starting Food 
Ibs. wheat bran 
Ibs. corn meal 
Ibs. screened beef scrap 
Ib. alfalfa meal 
Ib. linseed meal 

Grain Mixture 
15 Ibs. cracked wheat 
10 Ibs. pinhead oatmeal 
15 Ibs. fine cracked corn 

3 Ibs. fine cracked peas 

2 Ibs. broken rice 

5 Ibs. chick grit 

2 Ibs. charcoal 


Mash Mixture No. 1 Mash Mixture No. 2 

2 Ibs. wheat bran 1 Ib. wheat bran 

3 Ibs. corn meal 2 Ibs. corn meal 

1 Ib. Daisy flour (or other 1 Ib. wheat middlings 

low-grade flour) 1 Ib. beef scrap 

1 Ib. screened beef scrap 
l /2 Ib. linseed meal 


To Three Weeks. Two feeds of starting food, scalded 
and mixed with rolled oats, two parts of oats to six of 
mixture ; two feeds of grain mixture in light litter ; green 
food; fine grit, charcoal, cracked bone, and clean water 
always before the chicks. 

Three to Six Weeks. Substitute mash mixture No. 1 
(moist) for the starting food; otherwise as above. 

On Range. (After six or eight weeks.) Constant sup- 
ply of wheat, cracked corn, beef scrap, cracked bone, oyster 
shell, and grit in separate troughs or hoppers; hopper- fed 
mash mixture No. 2. 

Ontario Agricultural College Ration 

Starting Food Grain Mixture Mash Mixture 

4 Ibs. bread crumbs 30 Ibs. cracked wheat 10 Ibs. wheat bran 

1 Ib. hard boiled 30 Ibs. granulated 10 Ibs. shorts 

egg oatmeal 10 Ibs. corn meal 

Fed dry 80 Ibs. fine cracked 3 Ibs. animal 

corn. meal 
10 Ibs. small grit 


First Two Days. Starting food, fed five times a day; 
lukewarm water to drink. 

After Two Days. Three feeds of grain mixture, with 
one of bread and milk, and one of whole wheat; or with 
two feeds of moist mash ; fresh boiled liver twice a week, 
if obtainable in that case, animal meal omitted from the 


mash ; for chicks on range with the hens, the grain mixture 
may be hopper-fed. 

After Eight Weeks. Moist mash in the morning; grain 
noon and night. An increase in the proportion of animal 
food will hasten the development of the chicks. 


Food requirements vary according to stage of maturity. 
The fact that most fowls have more or less free range and 
are able to find much natural food, which helps to supply 
any lack of nutrients in the ration fed them, in other words 
enables them to balance their ration, lessens the importance 
of varying the feeding according to special needs of pro- 
duction. It is true, nevertheless, that the food require- 
ments are very different for the chick from the shell to the 
end of the brooding period, and from the end of the brood- 
ing period to maturity; also for the laying hen and the 
developing pullet and for the pullet and old fowls. The 
small growing chick must be furnished with materials for 
the growth of frame and feathers; the laying hen for the 
making of eggs; the market fowl for the production of 
meat. The non-laying moulting hen requires foods rich in 
feather-making material. Young chicks eat more accord- 
ing to size than mature fowls. During the growing stage 
a large part of the food goes to produce frame or bone and 
feathers. The young fowl, or chicken, has less flesh or fat 
than the mature fowl. It has a smaller percentage of 
edible meat than the mature fowl. The reason is, the food 
is used more largely for frame building. The fowl, there- 
fore, that is building a frame needs more frame material 
than one whose frame is already built. The skeleton of the 
fowl is made up largely of mineral matter lime, phos- 
phorus, iron, etc. which are all grouped together under 
the name of ash in the ordinary food analysis. 


The food requirement varies, therefore, as the stage of 
maturity varies. The young growing fowl requires more 
ash or mineral matter than the mature fowl that is not lay- 
ing. The importance of this fact is brought home to the 
poultryman who keeps his fowls in enclosures where all 
their requirements must be met from the supplied food. 

After the chicks have passed the brooding stage, which 
is usually at the age of six weeks to two months, depending 
upon weather conditions, they are past the critical period 
of their growth. If they reach this stage in good health 
and vigor, only mistaken feeding and management will 
result in stunted growth. 

Management of Growing Stock. While chicks may be 
successfully grown under more or less restricted conditions, 
the best practice is to give them free range. There are two 
reasons for this. First, the chickens are able to find feed 
that is often lacking in the ration when kept in confinement ; 
and second, in hunting for feed they get exercise that they 
often do not get for lack of incentive when kept in yards. 
The importance of exercise for the growing stock cannot 
be over estimated. 

Clean Range. The range should be clean. It should 
not be overstocked with chickens. "Where large numbers 
are kept the best conditions are obtained where fowls are 
kept in limited numbers in colony houses, separated widely 
so that they have plenty of clean ground to range over. 
There are many advantages of free range for growing 
chickens, among which may be mentioned: Less danger 
from contagious diseases ; greater vigor due to greater ex- 
ercise; greater profit because much feed otherwise wasted 
is found in the field; and the destruction of insects, such 
as grasshoppers, which may be an important item in cer- 
tain localities. The chickens may run in the orchard, in 
the pasture fields with the cows and in the stubble fields 


after the crops are harvested. A flock of five hundred 
cockerels were kept on thirty acres of wheat stubble by the 
Oregon Station for two months in the fall, without addi- 
tional food, the houses being moved several times. 

Clean Yards. Where it is necessary to keep the grow- 
ing chickens in yards it is important that they be kept 
clean. If possible a crop should be grown on the yards 
every year. By plowing them and seeding them in the fall 
there will be a green crop in the spring on which the 
chickens may run. This will also help to keep the ground 
in a sanitary condition. If the yard is small, frequent 
spading or cultivation will lessen the danger of soil contam- 
ination and the fowls will scratch in the loose soil and get 
exercise in that way. 

Shade. Another essential of success in growing chickens 
is that they have an abundance of shade. Fruit trees or 
other trees may be planted in the yards, or part of the 
yards may be planted to corn or sunflowers. The latter 
make an excellent shade and at the same time furnish con- 
siderable feed. Where the shade cannot be secured in this 
way, artificial shade of some kind should be provided, such 
as frames covered with burlap or building paper. 

Houses. Ventilation or fresh air should be the first con- 
sideration in housing growing chickens. For a small house 
one side should be entirely open. If used in the cold 
weather of spring it would be an advantage to have the 
opening adjusted so as to prevent chilling during the cold 
nights when the chicks are small and not feathered fully. 
A house 7x10 feet will accommodate one hundred grow- 
ing chicks or 5 x 8-foot house accommodate fifty chicks. 
Before they approach maturity the number should be re- 
duced. The perches should be about 12 inches apart. 

Size of Flock. Where kept in colony houses on range, 
one hundred chicks in a flock should be about the maximum. 


A house large enough to accommodate this number may be 
pulled by a team of horses. Keeping them in smaller flocks 
than fifty will offer no special advantage and the extra 
amount of labor in caring for them in smaller numbers 
offsets any possible advantage. The cost of the house will 
be greater in proportion to number for the smaller house 
than for the larger. The tendency to be guarded against 
is crowding too many together in a small house or coop. 
Great losses are incurred each year from this cause. The 
size of flock for the two houses mentioned may be 25% 
greater at the start and in two or three months, as the 
cockerels are marketed, the number will be reduced to the 
proper size. 

Rations. The feeding of the chick up to the end of the 
brooding stage has already been discussed. No sudden 
change should be made in the ration from small chicks to 
growing chicks. One of the great secrets in feeding 
chickens for any purpose is to avoid radical or sudden 
changes. Free-range chicks may safely be hopper-fed. 
Where the range is good, hopper feeding or part hopper 
feeding will give probably as good results as any other. A 
satisfactory method is to keep before the chickens all the 
time a hopper of dry ground grains and a supply of animal 
food. And in the afternoon or evening give a feed of 
whole grain, wheat or cracked corn, or a mixture of both. 

The following are suggestions for a hopper of dry mash : 

No. 1. Bran 3 pounds. Ground corn 1 pound 

No. 2. Bran 3 " Ground oats 1 pound 

No. 3. Bran 3 " Ground barley 1 pound 

No. 4. Bran 3 " Coarse middlings 

or shorts 1 pound 

If the animal food is beef scrap add 10 pounds of it to 
100 pounds of the mixture. There should also be a hopper 
or box of broken or granulated bone and another of grit. 


If the range is good and they find many bugs and insects, 
10 pounds of beef scrap in 100 pounds of the dry mash 
will be sufficient, especially as they grow older and range 

If milk is available, that should be substituted for the 
beef scrap, though the addition of a small quantity of beef 
scrap to the mash makes it more palatable, otherwise the 
fowls may refuse to eat as much of the mash as may be 
desirable. The milk may be either fresh skim milk or sour 
milk or buttermilk, whichever may be the most economical 
or convenient to feed ; either sour milk or buttermilk being 

Moist Mash. A daily feed of moist mash in place of 
the dry mash will result in more rapid growth. The real 
values, however, of the two methods have not been very 
clearly demonstrated. The difference will depend some- 
what upon the character of the range and the amount and 
kind of insect food available. Either method, however, 
will give good results and whether one or the other method 
is used may safely be left to the convenience of the feeder. 
It will be better in feeding pullets to follow the method 
that will be followed in feeding them as layers. Changing 
from one method to the other at the beginning of the lay- 
ing season will interfere with the laying for some time and 
a loss result. If necessary to make a change, it should be 
made gradually. The moist mash should be fed in the morn- 
ing, preferably, and enough fed to last them about an 
hour. It may be made of the same grains as the dry mash, 
mixed, if possible, with milk or buttermilk. 

Culling. If the pullets have come from good breeding 
stock and have been properly hatched and brooded little 
culling will be necessary, but it would hardly be possible 
to find a flock in which some culling will not be desirable. 
It has been seen how important a thing is vigor, and though 


the lack of vigor may not be always apparent in the young 
stock, it is always apparent in some and when found the 
poultryman should cull rigorously. "Where there is a con- 
siderable percentage of culls and this persists under best 
methods of hatching and brooding, the breeding stock should 
be changed. A change of males may be all that is neces- 

Poultrymen who use artificial hatching and rearing 
should set a hen or two at the time incubators are set and 
with the same kind of eggs and compare the results with 
those in the incubator. This will give a check on the breed- 
ing stock, as well as on the incubator. If the chicks under 
both methods show equally good growth and low mortality 
the poultryman should be satisfied that both the breeding 
stock and the incubation are all right. If, however, the 
chicks show poor results both in mortality and rate of 
growth, the evidence would point to the breeding stock as 
lacking in vigor ; but if the hen-hatched chicks show good 
vigor and the incubator chicks poor vigor, the trouble is 
in the incubator or brooder. To determine whether the 
trouble is in the incubator or brooder, some of the in- 
cubator chicks should be brooded by hens. If the chicks 
show good vigor brooded under hens and poor vigor in 
brooders, the fault is in the brooding, not in the incubation. 

Under best conditions, however, some culling will be 
found to be necessary. If at the age of two months some 
chicks have failed to make growth the poultryman will be 
money in the pocket if Dr. Hatchet is given a job. They 
are taking up room, eating food that will bring no return 
and are more or less of a menace to the rest of the flock. 

The Cockerels. rA mistake is often made in retaining 
the cockerels too long. If they are hatched early in the 
season they will come to broiler maturity at a time when 
prices are at their highest for broilers. That is the time to 


sell them, usually. A broiler weighing a pound and a half 
will often bring as much money in April, May or June as 
a three or four pound cockerel in the fall. As weight is 
being put on the cockerel during the summer the price is 
falling, and the price often falls faster than the weight 
increases. By keeping the cockerels till the fall, therefore, 
or until they get their growth, the farmer or poultry man 
will very often get nothing for the feed he has fed them. 

There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. A farmer 
may have a bunch of cockerels on free range where the 
food costs little or nothing. "Where stubble fields are avail- 
able till late in the fall and in sections where chickens can 
range out on stubble fields till near Christmas, it may pay 
to keep the cockerels over or until the time the prices have 
risen. Again, it may be that a farmer can caponize his 
cockerels in the summer and by keeping them till January 
or February, sell them at a good price for roasters. 

Feeding Broilers. If the chickens have been hatched 
early and it is desired to market the cockerels when the 
broiler market is good, the cockerels should be separated 
from the pullets when they weigh about a pound and given 
special feeding. In place of feeding the ground grain dry, 
as may be done with the growing stock, it should be mixed 
with sour milk or buttermilk. When feeding for flesh 
rather than for growth the proportion of bran should be 
reduced. For fattening broilers equal parts of bran and 
ground grain should be used, reducing the proportion of 
bran during the last week to one-half part. As much of 
the mixture as they will clean up in an hour should be 
given early in the morning. In the afternoon or evening 
whole grain should be fed. In other respects the same 
feeds should be given as for growing stock if the broilers 
have free range. If crate-fattened, they should be given 
soft feed exclusively for eight or ten days before market- 



ing, feeding three times a day. Enough milk should be 
used to make the mash into a thin gruel and no water given 
to drink. No beef scrap or green feed will then be needed. 


Special feeding before 
marketing greatly im- 
proves the quality of 
poultry. Unf attened 
poultry respond very 
readily to feeding. The 
period of fattening is 
about two weeks. In the 
case of beef animals it 
requires months of feed- 
ing to put them in condi- 
tion for the best mar- 
kets. The same evolu- 
tion is accomplished for 
the fowl in two weeks. 

In spite of the ease 
and rapidity with which 
the finishing or fleshen- 
ing process is done, the 
great bulk of the poultry 
that goes to market 
lacks this finish. In re- 
cent years the fattening of farm poultry has been under- 
taken by the meat packers. The fowls are collected in large 
numbers and sent to feeding stations where, under proper 
conditions, great improvement is made in the quality of the 

The objects of fattening may be stated to be, first, to add 
additional weight, and, second, to improve the quality of 


8 1-3 months old, weighing 1024 Ibs. Fed 
on farm of Geo. H. Hyslop, Deslar, Ohio. 


the flesh. The profit in feeding comes as much from the 
improved quality of the meat as from the additional flesh 
put on. Fattening is especially desirable for young 
cockerels that have had free range on the farm. They 
have good frame and constitution, and when confined and 
properly fed put on flesh rapidly and economically. The 
farmer might well secure the benefit of the extra weight 
and the consumer the extra quality. The skillful feeder 
feeds for both quality and weight. The fowl that is simply 
fat has the fat distributed over the intestines and under 
the skin and when cooked this fat will run out into the pan. 
With the fowl properly fattened the fat will be distributed 
in small globules throughout the fibres of the flesh and when 
cooked the flavor of the meat will be retained and the meat 
will be more tender. The consumers in purchasing fowls 
at so much per pound are paying for bones as well as meat, 
and they prefer the fattened fowl at a higher price because 
they get more edible meat in each pound purchased. Proper 
fattening increases the proportion of meat to bones, and 
this is the special benefit of fattening. 

Methods of Fattening. There are three methods fol- 
lowed in fattening. First, pen fattening; the fowls are 
confined in small pens or yards. Second, crate fattening; 
by this method specially made crates or feeding batteries 
are used. Third, cramming ; in the last stage of the fatten- 
ing period a cramming machine is used. 

The first method is largely used on the farm where the 
business does not receive special attention. The second 
method is used at the large packing-house stations and by 
others making a special business of marketing fowls of 
extra quality. The cramming method is not very generally 
used in this country. In England and France great num- 
bers of chickens are "crammed." 

In egg production one of the essential factors is exercise 



for the hen, while non-exercise is just as essential in fat- 
tening. The good laying hen must have vigor and this is 
associated with hard muscles. Proper fattening means a 
softening of the 
muscles to pro- 
duce a flesh that 
when cooked is 
tender, and this 
is produced only 
by restricting or 
preventing exer- 
cise. In fatten- 
ing it is not the 
object to secure 
vigor in the 
chicken ; rather 
it is the initial 
process leading 

The fattening 

process could not continue long beyond the two weeks fat- 
tening period without the fowl showing decided loss in 

Another essential in fattening is that soft foods must be 
fed altogether. Lack of exercise interferes with the proper 
digestion of whole or hard grains. The grain is ground 
finely and mixed with water or milk to about the con- 
sistency of cream, or thin enough so that it will drip from 
a spoon. No water is given to drink. 

Cost of Fattening.* The cost of feed consumed by 
498,681 chickens at four large packing-houses in the middle 
"West in 1912 was as follows : 

'Bulletin 21, U. S. Department of Agriculture. 


Cost of feed Cost of labor 

per per 

pound gain pound gain 

Packing house A 8.74 cents 1.63 cents 

Packing house B 7.70 cents 1.99 cents 

Packing house C 6.61 cents 1.37 cents 

Packing house D 9.95 cents 1.59 cents 

The cost was figured on the following prices of feed : 

Corn meal $1.39 to $1.74 per 100 pounds 

Low grade wheat flour 1.38 to 1.52 " " 

Shorts 1.18 to 1.25 " " 

Buttermilk 1 to 2 cents a gallon 

Fattening Rations. The best results were secured by 
feeding either of the three following rations : 

1. 3 parts cormneal. 2 parts low grade wheat flour; 1 part 


2. 3 parts cornmeal, 2 parts low grade wheat flour. 

3. 5 parts cornmeal, 3 parts low grade wheat flour, 1 part 

shorts, and 5 per cent tallow. 

Oatmeal produced better gains than low grade wheat 
flour, but was less profitable on account of its higher price. 

Buttermilk is used by the packing-houses in mixing the 
food. No other animal food is given. Buttermilk or sour 
milk is preferred to sweet milk. The milk or buttermilk 
bleaches or whitens the flesh. All milk-fed chickens have 
light-colored flesh. This whitening may be partly offset 
by feeding yellow corn meal. If milk is not used, beef scrap 
or other animal food must be fed. 

The feeder must use the foods that are reasonable in 
price. No one grain is essential. In most sections of the 
United States corn will be most largely fed because of its 
cheapness. In the fattening districts of England oats are 
considered the most satisfactory. In France buckwheat 
and barley are largely used. Where oats that are good and 


plump and cheaper than other grains can be secured, they 
should form the large part of the ration. They must, how- 
ever, be specially ground to cut up the hull in small 
particles. If corn and oats cost the same pound for pound, 
then the ration may be made up of half of each by weight. 
If corn is not available, a little middlings or shorts, or 
low-grade wheat flour, may be mixed with the oats. The 
famous Sussex fat chickens in England are produced on a 
ration of oats. The important thing, however, is that the 
oats be heavy and finely ground. 



Structure of the Egg. The principal parts of the egg 
are, in the order of their growth, the yolk, the albumin or 
white, and the shell. The yolk is built up carefully layer 
upon layer and requires about two weeks to develop from 
the size of a pea to the full-sized yolk. It contains the 
blastoderm or germ cell, which may be seen as a white speck 
one-eighth inch in diameter on its upper surface. This 
speck enlarges when the egg is kept in a warm room or in 
a high temperature. The blastoderm, as Lillie says, "is 
the living part of the egg from which the chick embryo and 
all its parts are derived." There is more or less develop- 
ment of the embryo of a fertile egg before it is laid, due 
to the body temperature of the hen. Should the egg be 
retained in the uterus, as sometimes happens, a day or 
two before being laid the development may proceed so far 
that the egg will be unfit for eating. Retarded laying, 
however, seldom happens. The yolk furnishes the embryo 
a large part of its nutriment, and the unassimilated part 
of the yolk furnishes the chick food for several days after 

The Albumin in different layers surrounds the yolk. 
Close to the yolk there is a dense layer which forms at each 
end of the egg two spirally twisted cords. These are called 
the chalazae, the apparent function of which is to hold the 
yolk in place. The albumin is a protection for the germ or 
blastoderm. It keeps it from coming in contact with the 
shell and lessens the force or effect of jarring. Another 
function of the albumin is to prevent the entrance of bac- 



teria to the yolk or germ cell. The oviduct appears to be 
germ-proof and the albumin to have certain bactericidal 

The Yolk has a lower specific gravity than the albumin 
and will be found floating near the side of the egg upper- 
most, with the germ cell on the upper side of the yolk. 
This brings the germ cell always near the source of heat 
during incubation. Should the egg remain long in one 


position without turning, the albumin becomes thinner and 
the yolk will adhere to the shell. This is fatal to the 

There are two layers of shell membrane, the inner and 
outer. The inner layer lies next to the albumin and the 
thicker outer one next to the shell. After being laid, the 
egg contents contract, and at the large end the inner layer 
draws away from the outer, causing the air space. 

The Shell, which forms about 11% of the weight of the 
egg, plays an important part in the embryonic develop- 
ment of the chick. Until recently the shell was supposed 


to be merely a protective device, but it is now known that 
the developing chick draws upon the shell for a large part 
of the lime necessary for its proper growth. The shell is 
porous or permeable to gases ; this permits evaporation of 
the water of the egg and also permits entrance of oxygen 
necessary for the development of the embryo. 

How Long Should Laying Hens Be Kept. The pro- 
ductive life of the hen is short compared with that of 
domestic animals. It is apparently a natural characteristic 
of the hen to lay more eggs in her first laying year than 
in the second, and in each succeeding year a smaller num- 
ber. The results of experiments by the writer at the Utah 
Station showed average pen results from Leghorns in the 
first year of 164 eggs, and in the second 126 per hen. In 
exceptional individual cases more eggs were laid the second 
year than the first. For instance, one hen laid 201 the 
first year and 241 the second. Forty-one hens of different 
breeds averaged 178 eggs the first year and 125 the second, 
or 40% more the first than the second year. 

At the Oregon Station later results were secured as 
follows : Fifty Barred Plymouth Rocks laid 160 eggs the first 
year, and 105 the second year, and 50 White Leghorns and 
crosses, 153 eggs the first year, and 130 the second year. 
In these experiments the laying year began November 1. 
Out of the 100 hens, 17 laid more eggs the second year than 
the first. 

Other records showed, what might be expected, that 
where the conditions for egg production were more favor- 
able during the second year than the first, a better egg 
yield was secured during the second year. Again, where 
the period of maturity varied, or where the laying year 
began in the spring, the second year records were better 
than the first. The moulting period did not vary, making 
the first laying year short 


The prison walls being broken down. 

Where maturity is reached in the fall and laying begins 
then, the average flock results invariably showed that the 
first year is the most productive or profitable, and that 
there is a gradual decrease each succeeding year. 

This means that the hens must be killed off at the end of 
their second laying year and their places taken by pullets. 
Some poultry-keepers practice renewing the flock of layers 
every year others keep them three years. 

Renewal of the Flock. The point is that the frequent 
renewal of the flock constitutes a large and costly part of 
the business of egg production. If the productive life of 
the hen could be lengthened to say five years instead of 

It has broken its way out into the world the fruits of successful incubation. 


two years, one of the most troublesome as well as expensive 
features of poultry-raising would be very much simplified. 
The cost of incubation, or the hatching and raising of the 
pullet, is a no small initial charge on the cost of every dozen 
of eggs produced. This initial cost would be less significant 
were it possible to eliminate a large part of the losses 
usually incurred in the hatching and rearing of the chicks. 

In renewing the flock the utmost care must be taken in 
hatching and rearing to preserve in the new flock the 
vitality of the old. If the health and vitality of the stock 
may be injured by improper methods of incubation and 
brooding, and these methods are persisted in year after 
year, disastrous results will soon be brought about by the 
very frequency with which the flock is renewed. Decrease 
in egg production, which we may seek to overcome by fre- 
quently renewing the flock, will as certainly result from a 
gradual lowering of vitality as from keeping the hens till 
they have ' ' lost their teeth. " It is the opinion of the writer 
that there are harder problems to solve, and greater diffi- 
culty to be encountered by the poultryman, in incubation 
and brooding, than in any other part of the poultry 

Eggs for Hatching Must Be Produced by Hens of Good 
Vitality. Successful rearing of chickens depends very 
largely on following closely nature's way. If we study the 
way of the hen that hatches every egg in the fence corner, 
we shall find this fact : The hen that laid the eggs was not 
confined in close yards ; she had the liberty of the fields. This 
guaranteed good health and vigor. Eggs laid by such hens 
will hatch better than those from hens cooped up under 
artificial conditions. Health and vitality in the hen are trans- 
mitted to the chick. Eggs that hatch well come from hens 
that have good vitality. Chicks that live well come from 
eggs laid by hens of good vitality. The method of hatch- 


ing or the method of brooding is not always responsible 
for eggs failing to hatch and for chicks failing to live or 
grow well. The parent stock, or the condition under which 
the parent stock is kept, is sometimes to blame. 

Breeding stock, therefore, should be carefully selected, 
only those individuals being retained that are up to a cer- 
tain standard of shape, size and vigor. 

It is not claimed here that lack of vigor in the parents 
will inevitably be transmitted to the offspring. Parents 
of apparently weak constitution may breed vigorous off- 
spring. A chicken may have been injured in its rearing 
and show weakness, without, however, impairing its value 
as a breeder of strong, healthy stock; but the poultryman 
cannot afford to retain in his flock fowls showing con- 
stitutional weakness. Lack of vigor in the parent stock 
may not always show in the offspring, but it will invariably 
show itself in smaller egg production and in eggs that do 
not hatch a high percentage of chicks. There may not be 
constitutional weakness in the fowls that lay the eggs, but 
if there is lack of vigor there will be correspondingly few 
eggs that are fertile and fewer of the fertile eggs that 

Methods of Hatching Sometimes Responsible for Poor 
Hatches and for Lack of Vigor in the Chicks. Do not 
always blame the parent stock for poor hatches and for 
poor chicks. At the Oregon Station one method of hatch- 
ing gave an average of 78.8 chicks from a hundred eggs 
set, while another method gave 60.6 chicks. When brooded 
in artificial brooders, 90% of the chicks hatched by the 
first method were alive at the end of four weeks, while 
only 67% of the others were alive. When brooded under 
hens, about 98% of those hatched by the first method were 
alive at the end of four weeks, and only 51% of the others. 

While it is true, therefore, that lack of vigor in the 


parent stock may sometimes account for poor hatches and 
low vitality in the chicks that hatch, it is also true that 
poor methods of incubation may produce the same results. 

Methods of Brooding are sometimes faulty and result 
in a high death-rate among the chicks and in impaired 
vitality in those that grow to maturity. 

Feeding and General Care of the chicks is an important 
part of this subject. It is true that chicks of good vitality 
will stand a good deal of abuse in the rearing; it is true 
that expensive foods and much labor in feeding are not 
necessary to get the best results; but at the same time, to 
get the rapid growth required of the chicks, they must 
have proper foods. 

With the above outline as a guide, let us now discuss 
some of these points more in detail. Omitting further 
reference to the first topic, let us consider different methods 
of hatching. 


There are two ways or methods of hatching chickens, 
namely, natural and artificial ; in other words, hen-hatching 
and incubator-hatching. On the general farms the larger 
part of the hatching and brooding is done by hens, while 
a majority of the special poultry farms use incubators and 

There are advantages and disadvantages in each. The 
poultry-raiser must choose the method that best suits his 
individual conditions. Each method has its place, but 
there is a difference of opinion as to how far artificial 
methods should supersede the natural. On the general 
farm where fifty or a hundred fowls are kept the natural 
method is undoubtedly the most satisfactory, first because 
of the limited number of chicks to be hatched to renew the 


flock ; second, because farmers, as a rule, have not the time 
to give the necessary care to the incubator and brooder; 
third, because the cost of equipment is much less; and 
fourth, that under farm conditions better chicks will be 
reared by the natural way. 

The advantages of the artificial method are mainly ap- 
parent on the large special farms. Incubators are a neces- 
sity on these farms first, because non-sitting breeds are 
kept on many of them; second, because not enough sitters 
can be secured early in the season for hatching chicks to 
supply the market with early spring broilers; third, it is 
claimed that the incubator lessens the labor where large 
numbers are hatched. A fourth, and important advantage, 
is that the use of incubators makes it possible to keep the 
chicks free from lice and mites and certain diseases. 

There are, however, large poultry farms, where egg pro- 
duction is the chief object, that use the natural method, 
noticeably that of the Little Compton district of Rhode 
Island. Artificial methods would be more generally used 
than they are were it not for the fact that there are 
problems in artificial incubation and brooding that are not 
encountered in natural incubation and brooding. What- 
ever may be the real merits of the two ways of hatching, 
it is certain that the incubator has become a considerable 
factor in the poultry industry, and it may be that with 
improvements in manufacture and methods of operating 
the machine it may in the future still further supersede 
the hen. 

Comparisons of the Two Methods. Reports of experi- 
ments on the relative efficiency of the hen and incubator, 
are somewhat contradictory. In tests at the Oregon Station 
that extended from April to July comparative results were 
secured. These experiments were made in the spring and 
summer months, and it has been the experience at this sta- 


tion that incubator chicks hatched earlier in the season, or 
in the colder months, have greater thrift. Chickens hatched 
by incubators in January, February and March are more 
easily reared than those hatched later. It is not assumed 
that the results secured were the best that may be obtained. 
It was an incubation experiment. Chicks hatched in differ- 
ent ways were put under like conditions of brooding, and 
even though the brooding might not have been the best, 
the value of the incubation comparison should not thereby 
be lessened. The following is a summary of the results : 

1. From 879 eggs set, incubators hatched 533 chicks, or 

2. From 279 eggs set, hens hatched 219 chicks, or 78.8%. 

3. Eliminating eggs broken in nests, the hen hatched 
88.2% of eggs set. 

4. The incubators hatched 78.5% of "fertile" eggs, and 
the hens hatched 96.5%. 

5. Eggs incubated artificially tested 22.7% as infertile, 
while those incubated by hens tested out 11.8%. 

6. The incubator's showed 16.6% of chicks "dead in the 
shell," and the hens 2.8%. 

7. Chicks hatched under hens weighed heavier than 
chicks hatched in incubators. 

8. The mortality of hen-hatched chicks brooded in 
brooders was 10.8% in four weeks, and of incubator- 
hatched chicks 33.5%. 

9. The mortality of hen-hatched chicks brooded under 
hens was 2.2%, and of incubator chicks 49.2%. 

10. In other tests the mortality was 46.5% for incubator 
chicks brooded by hens and 58.4% brooded in brooders. 

11. Hen-hatched chicks made greater gain in weight 
than incubator chicks, whether brooded by hens or brooders. 

At the Ontario Agricultural College, experiments gave 
the following results: "Nine hundred and fifty-eight eggs 


were set in the machines and 436 chicks were hatched, or 
45.5% of the eggs set. Three hundred and thirty-five were 
set under hens and 196 chicks were hatched, or 58.5% of 
the eggs set. As the same hens' eggs were used in each 
method, the hen has the advantage, and had she not been in 
cramped quarters for a portion of the hatches, her hatches 
would have been larger." (Ontario Agricultural College, 
Bulletin 163.) 

Prof. Edward Brown, President of the International 
Association of Poultry Instructors and Investigators, in 
the "London Illustrated Poultry Record," says: "The 
most ardent advocate of artificial methods of hatching can- 
not but acknowledge that there is something yet to learn, 
or rather that incubators are second best and hens are 

Natural Incubation and Brooding. By the natural 
methods of hatching, the cost of the incubator is eliminated, 
hens taking its place. In the same way brooders are dis- 
pensed with. Hens may be set and chicks reared in one 
coop, or house, such as is illustrated on page 293. Assuming 
that it requires as many eggs to hatch one hundred chicks 
with hens as with an incubator, three coops costing not 
more than $8 each will be required, each coop accommodat- 
ing four sitting hens. By setting the hens at one time the 
chicks hatched in one coop may be given to two hens to 
brood. The hens need not be included in the cost of the 
equipment, for they will be worth practically as much after 
hatching and rearing their chicks as before. Neither is it 
necessary to charge the method with eggs that might have 
been laid by the hens if they had not been used for hatch- 
ing. It is doubtful if the hen will not lay as many or more 
eggs during the year if she has hatched and reared a brood 
of chicks than if her natural instincts had not been gratified. 
By taking a month or six weeks off for hatching in the 



spring when eggs are cheap, the hen is usually in better 
condition and will begin to lay earlier in the fall when 
eggs are a good price. It is not certain, therefore, that the 
yearly production of a hen will be lessened by -allowing her 
to hatch and rear a brood of chicks. 

Two Methods of Hen Hatching. If a proper system 
be followed, chickens may be conveniently and successfully 


Showing apparatus used for drawing air from under sitting hens for determina- 
tions of humidity and carbon dioxide in the nests. (Oregon Station.) 

reared in large numbers by natural methods. In hatching 
with hens a system should be followed that will economize 
in the labor in caring for the hens. On most farms very 
little attention is given to furnishing convenient hatching 
facilities. A little thought and a few dollars spent for 
equipment will make the work less troublesome and uncer- 
tain. One of two methods may be followed. The first re- 
quires daily attention in letting the sitters off the nest and 


seeing that they go back again. By the second method the 
hen leaves the nest and returns at will. 

Where it is desired to set a large number of hens, they 
will be conveniently looked after by making a bank of 
nests along the side of a poultry house or in some unused 
shed. The nests should be about 12 x 12 x 14 inches in size, 
made by taking two 12-inch boards for the top and bottom 
and cutting another 12-inch board into 14-inch lengths for 
the partitions, then nailing them together, as many as de- 
sired. The top of the bottom row will furnish the bottom 
of the second row, and four or five rows of nests may thus 
be placed together. There should be a hinged board at 
front to confine the sitters. The hens should be let out every 
day to eat and drink for about 15 minutes, the length of 
time depending on weather conditions. Several inches of 
fine waste hay should be placed in the bottom of the nests. 
Short-cut straw or clean chaff will answer the purpose. 

The second method of hatching and brooding by hens 
requires less care on the part of the attendant. "We have 
found it to work well at the Oregon Station. One coop 
serves for both hatching and rearing the chicks. It serves 
the triple purpose of an incubator, a brooder, and a colony 

A convenient size of coop is 5 feet long and 3 feet wide, 
with a shed roof 3 feet high at front and 2 feet at back. 
It is large enough to divide into separate apartments for 
four sitting hens. Movable partitions of canvas or burlap 
are fastened to a 4-inch or 6-inch board at the bottom and 
to a cross-piece at the top. It has an outside run 3 feet 
long for each hen, covered with wire netting. The runs 
are hooked on to the house and may be dispensed with when 
the chicks are hatched. These runs give the hens oppor- 
tunity for dusting and exercise. By keeping feed and 
water before them all the time, the sitters may be allowed 



to leave the nests 
and return a t 
will. In this way, 
very little labor 
is required in 
caring for sitting 
hens. The door 
on the front is 
hinged at the top. 
Underneath this 
there is a frame 
of wire netting of 
1-inch mesh ; in 
mild weather the 
door may be kept 
open. This makes 
it an open - front 
house, and during 
the summer 
months, when the 
growing chicks 
use it as a roost- 
ing-house, it will 
be ifound that this 
provision for 
fresh air is a 
necessary one. 
More convenient- 
ly to get at the 
nests or sitters, 
there is an open- 
ing at the back of 
the coop. The top 
board, which is 

(1) Arranged for hatching, with doors closed. 

(2) Showing door and top open. 

(3) Arranged for brooding, with runs detached. 


For four sitting hens, each in separate_apartment. 



10 or 12 inches wide, is hinged at the bottom and cut 
in the center, one door serving for two nests. It is also 
an advantage to put hinges on the roof so that it may be 
opened. In dry locations and where the house can be 
moved to fresh ground occasionally, floors are not neces- 
sary or desirable. In some localities where rats are a pest, 
a floor will serve to prevent losses of eggs and chicks. 

When the chicks hatch, about twenty of them may be 
given to a hen to brood, and the remaining hens reset. The 

hen and chicks may be 
put in a coop such as is 
shown on this page. This 
will afford them shelter 
for a month or six weeks, 
after which a larger 
coop in which they can 
be brought to maturity 
will have to be provided. 
Or the small coop may 
be dispensed with, and 
the hen and chicks 
transferred at once to 
the larger coop. A coop the size of that illustrated 011 
page 293 is large enough to rear the chicks of two hens, 
or forty chicks. 

A New Brood Coop. A brood coop which may also 
be used for sitting hens is shown on pages 294 and 295. It 
is ratproof and rainproof. The wire front affords pro- 
vision for fresh air. The netting is of 1-inch mesh. The 
door which slides up and down may be fastened with a 
wooden pin, to allow the chicks to come out and confine the 
hen. The bottom is separate to afford easy cleaning. To 
clean, the floor is pulled from under the coop, or the coop 
lifted to one side. Where there is no danger from rats or 

Oregon Station. 




other vermin and the ground is not too damp, the floor may 
be dispensed with. The 
roof is likewise separate. 
This makes it more con- 
venient to catch the hen 
or the chicks. The roof 
is made of flooring and 
the sides of shiplap. To 
prevent rain beating in- 
to the coop and also to 
protect from the sun in 
hot weather, a shield is 
provided, hanging a t 
different angles. When 
not in use this shield is 
pushed back under the 
roof. To keep the shield 
from falling down when 
it is pulled out, two 
pieces of strap iron, 
with proper bent, are 
fastened to the board. 
For further details, see 
working plan, this page. 
Points on Setting a 
Hen. The best sitters 
are the breeds of the 
American and Asiatic 
classes. The Mediterraneans, such as Leghorn, Minorca, 
Andalusian, are not good sitters. Hens of gentle dis- 
position should be chosen if possible. The normal tem- 
perature of the hen's body is about 106 degrees. One 
good broody hen will take care of twenty chicks. An- 
other advantage of setting several hens at a time is that 



the chicks may be "doubled up." For an average hen, 
13 eggs are enough for a sitting. 

Dust the hen with insect powder when taking her off 
the nest. Examine the heads of the chicks two or three 
days after hatching, and if lice are found, rub a little lard 
on the head and under the throat. If the hen has been 
properly treated for lice while sitting, there will be no 
necessity for treating the chicks for lice. But watch them. 

Moistening the eggs before hatching is not necessary. 


The hen attends to that herself. Keep the hen and chicks 
on clean grass runs if possible. If properly managed, the 
hen may be got to laying after being with the chicks two 
or three weeks. In warm weather the chicks may be 
"weaned" when a month old. 

Feed the sitters corn or wheat, all they will eat, and pro- 
vide grit, water, and a little green food. Provide also a 
box of earth for dusting ; earth should not be too dry. 

The hen will usually hatch best in a nest on the ground, 
but the ground should not be too hard. Cover it with 
chaff, or short straw or hay. If the hen is set on a board 



floor, put in two or three inches of moist earth, hollow the 
nest slightly in the center and cover with straw or hay. 
Planer shavings are also good nesting material. 

Dust the hens with a good insect powder or tobacco dust 
when setting them, and again ten days later rub it well 
into the roots of the feathers. Put a spoonful of the same 
material, or a 
moth-ball, in the 
center of the 
nest. "With this 
treatment the 
hen should be 
free from these 
pests during the 
period of incu- 
bation, if the 
house or box in 
which she is sit- 
ting is not in- 
f es t ed with 
them. If it is found necessary, dust the hen oftener. 

Period of Incubation. The period of incubation for 
different species of poultry is shown in the following table : 

Species Days Species Days 

Hen 21 Peafowl 28 

Pheasant 22-24 Guinea 26-28 

Duck 28 Ostrich 42 

Duck (Muscovy) 33-35 Goose 30-34 

Turkey 28 

Selecting Eggs for Hatching. It is not possible to de- 
termine whether a fresh egg is fertile or will hatch. The 
egg must be under the sitting hen or in the incubator 
several days before its fertility may be determined. Neither 

Made out of a shoe box. 


is it possible to tell from any differences in shape of the 
egg whether it will hatch a male or female chick. The 
shape or size of the egg has nothing to do with the sex of 
the chick. There are, however, certain points in shape and 
structure of the egg that should be considered in select- 
ing eggs for hatching. Normal eggs should be selected. 
This does not mean that the eggs should all be of the same 
size. Eggs laid by different hens vary in size even when 


The brooding coops on the farm of F. W. C. Almy, Rhode Island, where 5,000 
chicks were hatched and brooded by hens in a year. 

the hens are of the same breed. One hen may lay an egg 
weighing more than two ounces; another, less than two 

The most profitable hen is not necessarily the one that 
lays the largest egg. The hen that lays a small egg may 
produce so many more of them in a year that she will lay 


a greater weight of eggs in a year even though her eggs 
average much less in weight. The large egg may be normal 
for one hen and the smaller egg for the other. Other 
things being equal the one will hatch as well as the other. 
The size of egg is a matter of breeding or heredity. It is 
well to use the larger eggs for hatching, because in that 
way it will be possible in a few years to breed up a strain 
of fowls that will lay larger eggs. Abnormally large or 
small eggs should not be used for hatching. Eggs that are 
not normal in shape should also be discarded. Ill-shaped, 
rough-shelled, dirty eggs should not be used. 

It is very important to select fresh eggs, the fresher the 
better. It is possible to keep eggs several weeks and have 
them hatch, but eggs lose in hatching quality the longer 
they are kept. They will keep in a cool place better than 
in a warm place. They should not be kept in a moist, damp 
room. It is a good plan to turn them once a day and to 
handle them with clean hands. 

There is great difference in eggs in fertility and hatch- 
ability. One of the chief causes of infertility in eggs is 
close confinement of the layers. Experiments have shown 
that eggs produced by fowls on free range are more fertile 
and hatch better than those from fowls confined in yards. 
(West Virginia Bulletin 71.) In these experiments about 
three times as many eggs tested infertile from the confined 
fowls as from those having unrestricted range. Whether 
the increased fertility from the latter was due to possibly 
greater exercise or to natural foods found on the range, 
the experiment does not show. So much importance, how- 
ever, is placed on this point that many of the large 
hatcheries refuse to use eggs that have not been laid by 
hens that enjoy free range. 

Testing the Eggs. After six or seven days of incuba- 
tion, the infertile eggs may be taken out and saved for the 



chicks. Rotten eggs should also be removed. If a number 
of hens are set at one time, they may be doubled up after 
testing; that is, if as many as a sitting are tested out, one 
hen may be reset on fresh eggs. An egg-tester may be pur- 
chased from a poultry supply house, or a small box may be 
used in which an electric light globe may be put. A coal 
oil lamp or candle may be used instead of an electric light 
bulb. (See pages 353-354.) 

In one side of the box cut a hole about the size of an egg. 
Testing is done in a dark room or at night by holding the 
egg to the light at the hole in box. Eggs may be tested by 
daylight by holding the egg at the end of a tube or funnel 
and pointing it toward the light. "Where the incubator 

room is fairly dark the 
eggs may be held at a 
hole in the wall and 
tested. "With two holes 
a little smaller than an 
egg, two eggs may be 
held up at one time. 

In testing incubator 
eggs the tray may be 
taken outdoors in the 
light and by using the 
funnel looking down on 
the eggs they may be 
quickly and easily 
tested. Another method 
of testing without hand- 
ling the eggs is to use a 
flashlight under the tray 
in a dark or moderately 
dark room and looking 
down on the eggs direct- 


Some of the poultry farmers at Peta- 
luma, Cal., take the eggs to the hatchery 
and pay the hatcher 3 or 4 cents apiece for 
hatching the chicks. The photo shows part 
of a hatch of 1,500 chicks at a Petaluma 
hatchery, which are to be taken by another 
party to raise. 


ly above the flashlight. The latter two methods obviate 
touching the eggs with hands. An infertile egg will look 
clear, just like a fresh egg, only it has a little larger air 
cell. A fertile egg will show dark. 

Artificial Incubation. The hatching and rearing of 
chicks by artificial means has been practiced by Egyptians 
and Chinese for centuries. The ancient methods were 
crude, and their success depended upon skill obtained by 
long years of practice. The secret was handed down from 


father to son. No thermometer was used, the temperature 
being judged by the "feel" of the operator. Large hatch- 
ing ' * ovens ' ' were used. The eggs were purchased, and the 
chicks sold for about $1 a hundred. The business of hatch- 
ing was confined to a few hatcheries or a few families who 
appeared to have a monopoly of the business. The same 
methods are followed to-day in Egypt, China and other 

In Europe and America artificial incubation is of com- 
paratively recent origin. So far as a practical application 
is concerned its history goes back less than 50 years. In- 
cubators had been used before. The first of which there is 


account was that of Reaumur, a Frenchman, who made and 
used a machine in 1749. Development has been along 
different lines than in Egypt and China. The monopolistic 
tendency is absent; the effort is to place machines on the 
market whose essential points are ease of operation and 
availability to all poultry-raisers. In recent years, how- 
ever, there is a distinct tendency toward centralized hatch- 
ing where the business is turned over to large hatcheries, 
and the poultrymen purchase the chicks as they come from 


The chicks were loaded onto a wagon by the man who contracts to raise 
them, taken two miles into the country and put in brooder houses shown above. 
The farmer takes the eggs to the hatchery, where Mr. A., the hatcher, hatches 
the chicks at so much per, and Mr. B. takes them and rears them at so 
much per. 

the incubator. In place of incubators with capacities from 
a few dozen eggs to two and three hundred eggs, there are 
now machines with capacities of 3,000 to 10,000 eggs. 

The Incubator House. For successful hatching the 
temperature of the room in which the incubator is operated 
must be controlled within certain limits. The first require- 
ment of an incubator room is a fairly even temperature. 
The less the temperature varies, the more easily may the 


temperature of the incubator be maintained. It is not 
necessary that the room have the same temperature night 
and day. Within a reasonable range of temperature, say 
10 degrees, the temperature inside the incubators as now 
constructed may be fairly well maintained. 

Ventilation of the Room. Of equal importance is the 
ventilation of the room of the incubator house. The de- 
veloping chicks make a constant demand for oxygen, and 


unless the ventilation of the room be ample the chicks 
will not develop and hatch with high vitality. It is the 
opinion of the writer that low vitality in the chicks is often 
the result of an insufficient supply of oxygen during incu- 
bation, more often than the result of variations in the 
temperature of the incubator house or in the machine, 
though that also is important. 

A cellar or underground room is often used for the in- 
cubator. "While it may afford the best conditions for con- 
trolling the temperature, it offers the poorest conditions 
for maintaining proper air purity. Fresh air is as im- 
portant as a uniform temperature, and success will not be 



made where one or the other of these factors is absent. 
During cold weather there will be less difficulty in securing 
good ventilation, because there is a more rapid exchange of 
air where the difference between the inside and outside tem- 
perature is great. In warm weather when the temperature 
inside and outside the incubator room is about the same, 
the air will be stagnant, and the growing embryo will 
suffer from a lack of oxygen. 

Analysis of air in an underground incubator cellar at the 

On the left tests are being made of carbon dioxide in the incubators. 

Utah Station while incubators were running showed as 
high as thirty parts carbonic acid gas in 10,000 parts. This 
is undoubtedly much beyond the limit of safety. At the 
Oregon Station in an incubator room above ground, analysis 
showed 9.9 parts, the highest, and an average of 7.5. Tests 
in May showed more carbon dioxide than in April. 

This is a possible explanation of the fact that chicks 
hatched in the cool weather have better vitality than those 
in the warm weather of summer. Incubators are now 
built with sufficiently sensitive temperature regulation that 



it is not essential that the temperature of the room be so 
constant that an underground cellar is necessary. A house 
above ground, properly constructed, is more desirable than 
an underground room or cellar. In warm sections of the 
country it will aid in maintaining a more uniform tempera- 
ture if the house can be shaded by other buildings or trees. 
Choice of an Incubator. There are probably half a 
hundred different incubators in general use, and many of 
them differ only in name. The essential features of the 


majority of incubators are alike. The source of heat is 
usually a kerosene lamp. Others are heated by gas or elec- 
tricity. While the source of heat may be the same, the 
methods of distributing the heat over the eggs varies in 
different machines. Because of this difference, incubators 
have been divided into two classes ; the one in which the 
heat is radiated from a tank of hot water over the eggs, 
or from hot water pipes ; the other type, in which, the hot 
air is diffused through cloth or muslin directly over the 



eggs. In the former, the hot water tank heats air already 
in the egg chamber ; in the latter, fresh air is heated by the 
lamp as it enters the machine and the same air enters the 
egg chamber by diffusion. So that there is the diffusion 
type of machine and the radiated heat type. In the latter 
the ventilation is independent of the source of heat. It 


requires longer to heat up the hot water machine than the 
hot air. 

On the other hand, the former maintains the heat longer, 
and this is an advantage in case the lamp goes out. To 
secure the same ventilation, or the same rate of exchange of 
air in the hot water machine as in the hot air, or the same 
degree of air purity, there must be more openings for 
ventilation in the former than in the latter. If the ventila- 
tion be arranged, therefore, so that there may be the same 
rate of exchange of air, or the same degree of air purity, 
there should be little, if any, difference in efficiency due to 


the different methods of furnishing heat to the eggs in the 
two types of machines. 

The tank in the hot water machine adds to its cost. The 
tank is also likely to get out of repair and leak after a few 
seasons' use. The hot air type of machine is more generally 
used, and on the whole is the more satisfactory. Whatever 
may be the type of machine decided upon, however, one 
that is well made should be chosen. 

Size of Machine. Machines vary in capacity from fifty 
eggs to several thousand. Those of less than 100-egg capac- 
ity have not proven as satisfactory as larger machines. A 
machine of 125 to 150 capacity should give as good results 
as larger machines. A machine of this capacity may be 
used for any number of eggs less than that. It is a question 
whether the machine would not hatch better if not crowded 
to its full capacity. The size of machine to select should 
be governed, first, by the number of chicks it is desired to 
hatch, and, second, by the number of suitable fresh eggs 
that may be secured. Where chicks are to be hatched for 
fall and winter layers they should all be hatched at about 
the same time, or within a period that will bring the pullets 
to maturity at the proper time for laying. On this account 
it will be better to confine the hatching to two runs of the 
incubator. That would make a difference in about four 
weeks in the ages of the two lots of pullets. A mistake is 
made in hatching too early as well as in hatching too late 
where good fall and winter layers are desired. If the pur- 
pose is to produce about one hundred pullets for fall and 
winter laying, two runs of a 150-egg machine will be neces- 
sary. As to the egg supply, the fresher the eggs the better, 
and an assured supply of eggs of good hatching quality is 
necessary before purchasing the incubator. (See page 299.) 

Operating the Incubator. Space need not be taken 
here with elaborate directions for running the machine. 


The purchaser of an incubator is furnished directions for 
its care, and those directions should be carefully followed 
until, at least, experience has demonstrated that they may 
be modified with advantage. Second, the construction of 
machines varies more or less, and no set of directions will 
suit all machines. The safe plan, therefore, is to study the 
directions that come with the machine. While different 
machines require different methods of operating, on some 
fundamental points, however, there should be agreement 
in directions. 

Humidity Conditions. On the question as to whether 
moisture should be supplied to the incubator, there is a 
great diversity of views among incubator makers. In ex- 
periments by the writer at the Utah and Oregon Stations, 
it has been found that moisture or humidity conditions have 
a great deal to do in the successful incubation of hen eggs. 

Experiments reported in Utah Bulletin 92 (1905) 
showed that there was a greater loss in weight of eggs in 
incubators than under hens during incubation. This loss 
is largely water evaporated. In the first 18 days of incuba- 
tion the average loss in incubators was 18.4%, and of eggs 
under hens the loss was 15%. In later experiments at the 
same station (Bulletin 102, 1907) machines with no 
moisture averaged 17.8% loss, medium amount of moisture 
14%, and with maximum amount of moisture the loss was 
12.3%. At the Oregon Station, as reported in Bulletin 100 
(1908) , eggs under sitting hens in dry nests averaged 14.8% 
loss. In later tests the average was lower than this. The 
results were for no-moisture machines 16.6% loss, medium 
moisture 12.8%, and maximum moisture 10.8%. The loss 
is also affected by the amount of ventilation, as discussed 
in another place. 

Some startling differences in the hatching were secured. 
In the Utah experiment (1907) maximum moisture pro- 


duced 329 chicks, medium moisture 319, and no moisture 
278 chicks from the same number of eggs put in. At the 
Oregon Station (Bulletin 100) medium moisture produced 
424 chicks, maximum 420, and no moisture 330. In each 
case the same kind and number of eggs were used in the 
different machines. Many subsequent experiments showed 
similar beneficial results from the use of moisture in num- 
ber of chicks hatched. They showed further that larger 
and heavier chicks were hatched where moisture was used. 
These experiments were made with a "moisture" machine. 

Amount of Moisture to Use. The experiments showed 
that extreme dryness as well as extreme humidity were 
alike detrimental. The amount to use depends largely 
upon the amount of ventilation. It was also shown that 
the range between the temperature of the incubator and 
the room influenced the humidity of the machine. As the 
difference increased the humidity decreased. It is this 
difference or range of temperature between the machine 
and the room that causes the circulation of air through 
the machine. As the difference decreases there is less cir- 
culation and consequently higher humidity. To maintain 
a uniform humidity, therefore, account must be taken of 
the range of temperature, and the supply of moisture 
governed accordingly. One machine required double the 
amount of supplied moisture to maintain the same humidity 
conditions as another machine of different make, due to 
difference in ventilation. This was shown by the reading 
of the wet bulb thermometer. 

The Wet Bulb as a Guide for Moisture. The wet bulb 
thermometer may be used to advantage as an indicator of 
the proper degree of humidity in the incubator. This is 
an ordinary thermometer, the bulb of which is covered with 
a muslin or silk wick, one end of which is inserted in a cup 
of water. Evaporation is a cooling process, and as the 


water evaporates on the bulb of the thermometer the tem- 
perature is lowered. The rate of cooling depends upon the 
rate of evaporation. If the evaporation is great or rapid 
the temperature is lower; if the evaporation is less the 
temperature rises. The rate of evaporation is influenced 
by the amount of moisture in the air surrounding the ther- 
mometer. The reason for this is that the air takes up 
moisture fast or slow as it approaches or departs from the 
point of saturation. "When the wet and dry bulbs have 
the same temperature the point of saturation has been 
reached and instead of being taken up by the air, moisture 
is given off; this is what causes rain. The drier the air, 
therefore, in the machine the greater its thirst for moisture, 
therefore the more rapid the evaporation of moisture from 
the wick on the bulb the greater the consequent cooling of 
the bulb. The drier the machine the more moisture will 
evaporate on the bulb and the lower the temperature of 
the wet bulb will be. The more moisture in the air the 
higher the temperature of the wet bulb will read. 

What is the Best Wet Bulb Temperature for Hatching? 
In machines with no supplied moisture there was an 
average wet bulb temperature of 84 to 85 degrees. Machines 
of the same make, with a tray of wet sand covering half 
the floor of the egg chamber, averaged about 88 degrees; 
and in others with a tray of wet sand covering the entire 
bottom of the machine the temperature was 90 to 91 degrees. 

As reported in Oregon Bulletin 100: "An average wet 
bulb temperature of 87.6 gave 32.6% better hatches than 
one of 84.5% and slightly better than one of 91%." 

Later experiments at the same station confirm these re- 
sults. The importance of moisture is strongly indicated. 
The efficiency of the particular incubator used was in- 
creased over 30% by using an amount of moisture that 
maintained a wet bulb temperature of 88 degrees instead 


of 85. A wet bulb temperature, therefore, of about 88 
degrees seems to indicate the best humidity conditions of 
the incubator. 

It is not assumed that it is necessary to supply moisture 
to the incubator to maintain the proper humidity conditions 
of the egg chamber. Further experiments showed that 
different incubators required varying amounts of moisture 
to maintain the same readings of the wet bulb thermometer, 
one incubator requiring double the amount of another. The 
explanation is that the ventilation in the one machine was 
greater than in the other. The humidity conditions there- 
fore are strongly influenced by the amount of ventilation. 
Again it was demonstrated that by cutting off the ventila- 
tion, the proper wet bulb temperature could be maintained 
without supplying any moisture. 

Moisture and Carbonic Acid Gas. An explanation, or 
partial explanation, of the results obtained from supplied 
moisture was discovered in another experiment. Carbonic 
acid gas with moisture decomposes calcium carbonate. The 
egg shell is 93.7% calcium carbonate. Eggs emptied of 
their contents were put in glass fruit jars, some with water 
and some without. The jars were then put in an incubator 
for 21 days, and a strong current of carbonic acid gas was 
forced through them. At the end of the incubation period, 
the egg shells in jars containing water in the bottom were 
broken down or dissolved, while those without the moisture 
in the jars were unaffected and apparently as strong and 
hard as at the start. From this it appeared that the shell 
is something more than a mere covering to preserve the 
egg. A German experimenter found that there was a loss 
of lime in the shell during incubation. 

What becomes of it? Chemical investigations at the 
Oregon Station showed that the chick as it was developing 
within the shell was drawing upon the shell for nutrition ; 


that there was a gradual increase in the ash or lime con- 
tents of the chick, and that the chick was able to break 
through the shell with strength derived in part from the 
shell itself. It was also found that the chick contains con- 
siderably more lime than the contents of the egg itself. 
Without the mineral elements of the shell the chick would 
be unable to grow its frame or skeleton. The shell there- 
fore has a vital function to perform in the hatching 
process, in the development of the chick. Moisture with 
carbon dioxide does not merely weaken the shell so the chick 
will be able to break through, but the dissolved lime of the 
shell goes to assist in the formation of the chick and de- 
termines to a certain extent the future strength and vitality 
of the fowl. 

But is not the moisture within the egg sufficient for this 
purpose? With certain machines, or those that gave over 
30% better hatches with supplied moisture than without, 
the development of the chick was more complete, there was 
more ash, phosphorus and protein in the chicks hatched by 
the machines that were supplied with moisture. The im- 
portant point brought out here is that the chemical com- 
position of the chick, its strength and vitality, is influenced 
by the moisture in the machine. 

It is highly important that the incubator operator should 
understand the moisture requirements for best chick de- 
velopment and that he should be able to test the machine 
for moisture. 

There are other methods of determining the amount of 
moisture in the machine. Thermometer makers have de- 
vised different instruments, usually called hygrometers, 
for determining the humidity of the incubator. Some of 
these are successful, others are not. When properly con- 
structed they answer the purpose. The percentage humidity 
as shown by the hygrometer should average about 60%. 


These instruments, however, do not give the actual relative 
humidity in the machine. To get a reading of the hygro- 
meter that will represent the humidity of the whole egg 
chamber, it is necessary that the bulb be fanned. That is 
because the moisture which is evaporated from the bulb 
remains near the bulb, and that part of the egg chamber is 
therefore more moist than other parts of the machine. 

By fanning the bulb, if that were possible in the in- 
cubator, the stagnant moisture in the machine would be 
driven from near the bulb, and the reading would then 
represent actual conditions of the whole egg chamber. It 
is in this way that the Government weather bureau obser- 
vations of the humidity of the air are secured ; the hygro- 
meter is fanned. It is not practicable to do this in the 
incubator, nor is it necessary in practice to know the cor- 
rect humidity. It is sufficient to know that a certain read- 
ing of the wet bulb thermometer, or a certain percentage 
of humidity as determined without fanning gives the 
desired condition for successful hatching. 

Loss in Weight of Eggs a Guide to Moisture. Another 
method of learning whether the humidity is right is to 
weigh at intervals of a few days during the hatch a number 
of eggs and note the loss in weight. A dozen eggs may be 
marked and weighed when put in the machine, then again 
every six days until the 18th day. An accurate scale of 
course must be used. Different eggs vary in the amount 
of loss due to the difference in the texture or structure of 
the shell, but an average loss within the following limits 
has been found to be about right : 

During the first 6 days 3.5 to 4 % loss 

During the second 6 days 4 to 4.5% loss 

During the third 6 days 4.5 to 5 % loss 

Total 12. to 13.5% loss 

(Utah Bulletins 92 and 102. Oregon Bulletin 100.) 


After the operator has once tested his machine and 
learned how much moisture is needed it will not be neces- 
sary to continue the use of a moisture test. 

Methods of Supplying Moisture. Moisture may be fur- 
nished in the following ways : First by putting a tray of 
sand under the egg tray and wetting as much of the sand 
as is necessary. The amount of surface of the sand to 
moisten will depend upon the make of the machine and 
upon weather conditions. Second, a pan of water may be 
put under the egg tray. The sand tray is more satisfactory 
than the pan inasmuch as the amount can be regulated by 
increasing or decreasing the area of wet surface. This can- 
not be done with a pan of water. Third, the eggs may be 
sprinkled with water at intervals. This method is not very 
effective. The supply of moisture should be steady through- 
out the hatch. Fourth, sprinkling the floor and walls of 
the incubator room is a practice frequently followed. This 
is not a very effective method of increasing the humidity 
in the incubator. 

Temperature of Incubation. The proper hatching tem- 
perature is about 103 degrees Fahrenheit at the top of the 
egg. It has been found that this is the average temperature 
under the sitting hen. During the latter part of the incu- 
bation period the temperature is slightly higher than dur- 
ing the first week, due to heat given off by the growing 
embryo. Good results have been obtained by starting the 
incubator at 102 1 /o and gradually raising the temperature 
to 103 at the beginning of the second week; then main- 
taining it at that temperature. When the chicks begin to 
hatch the temperature usually rises to 104 ; that is all right ; 
but it should not be permitted to go higher than 103 for 
more than an hour or two at a time. 

It is very necessary that the temperature be kept steady. 
A difference of a degree, either higher or lower, for a short 


time, may not injure the hatch, but the best results can 
only be secured when the temperature is kept steady. This 
refers to temperature conditions in all parts of the egg 
tray. The operator should test the machine by putting a 
thermometer in each corner and one in the center of the 
egg tray. 

The successful operator is not satisfied merely to hatch 
a large percentage of the eggs ; he hatches them well. 
Chicks may be hatched but not hatched right. The effect 
of a wide range of temperature may not show much in the 
number of chicks hatched, but it will probably show more 
in the kind hatched, though this fact often escapes notice. 
The danger from improper temperatures is not so much 
in the loss of chicks that fail to hatch, as in those hatched 
with low vitality. 

Ventilation. Not only the incubator room but the in- 
cubator itself must have good ventilation in order to carry 
out the impure air given off by the growing chick within 
the shell and to supply the required amount of fresh air 
or oxygen for proper development. The questions of 
moisture and ventilation are closely related. The greater 
the ventilation, the more moisture is required. Some in- 
cubators are built on the principle that no moisture should 
be supplied, the proper humidity being maintained by re- 
stricting the ventilation. How much ventilation is neces- 
sary, is the problem. More data is needed on this point. 
It has been very clearly established, however, at the Oregon 
Station, that increasing the ventilation without increasing 
the moisture reduces the number of chicks hatched and 
gives chicks of lower vitality. This is due to the extreme 
dryness of the air surrounding the eggs, not to the greater 
supply of fresh air. Under such conditions the chick does 
not make a normal growth. When this excessive ventila- 
tion, however, was supplemented with sufficient moisture 


to maintain the proper wet bulb temperature the results 
were satisfactory. 

Chemical Composition of Chick Affected by Incuba- 
tion Methods. It has been definitely shown by the Oregon 
experiments that moisture and ventilation have a direct re- 
lationship to the chemical composition of the chick hatched. 
The amount of phosphorus, lime, and certain compounds 
of protein, and even the amount of fat in the chick, is 
shown to be markedly influenced by the amount of moisture 
in the machine. Extreme dryness produced chicks that 
weighed less in dry matter, and lower in protein compounds 
and phosphoric acid, as well as lime, in tissue. This proves 
definitely that the conditions or methods of incubation in- 
fluence not only the number of chicks hatched, but the de- 
velopment and vitality of the chick itself. 

Turning the Eggs. Daily turning of the eggs in the in- 
cubator is necessary. This is following nature, for it has 
been observed that the sitting hen turns the eggs frequently. 
Unless turned, the yolk rises, being lighter than the white, 
and the germ spot comes in contact with the shell, or shell 
membrane, which is fatal. Turning should begin after the 
eggs have been in the incubator two days. 

It is important that the eggs be handled gently. As to 
method of turning, it is usually well to follow directions of 
the incubator maker. The eggs should be turned twice a 
day. Three turnings have given good results. 

Cooling the Eggs. A slight cooling of the eggs each 
day after the second day is necessary. In cool weather, 
or when the temperature of the incubator room is lower 
than 60 degrees, little more cooling will be needed than in 
the time the eggs are being turned on top of machine. In 
warmer weather and toward the end of the hatch further 
cooling is advisable. The amount of cooling given by the 
sitting hen to the eggs was determined at the Oregon Station 


by means of a minimum thermometer in a glass bottle filled 
with water. In 29 tests under five sitting hens the average 
cooling temperature was 88.9 degrees. The lowest was 81 
degrees. This represented the temperature of the interior 
of the eggs after the hen had been oif the nest. Tests made 
in incubators with the same instrument showed an average 
of 94.3 degrees, with usual methods of cooling. The tests 
were made in summer and the eggs were left out of the 
machine about half an hour. 

An instrument of this kind may be used to advantage 
by the incubator operator as a guide for cooling. 

Carbonic Acid Gas and Chick Development. The 
hatching of the chick is a most marvelous thing. ,The shell 
is the preserver of the egg. "Without it the egg could not 
be kept wholesome more than a day or two. It also pro- 
tects the germ of the chick from destruction. When it 
comes to hatching, the shell is an obstacle. The chick be- 
fore it can hatch and gain its liberty must devise some 
means by which it can break down this prison wall. It 
must grow a strong body, and it does it by making use of 
its enemy, the shell. To break through the shell it must 
put some of the shell into its body, otherwise it would not 
be strong enough to hammer down the wall. 

How does it turn this enemy into an ally? By another 
miracle, making use of another enemy a poison. A poison 
that would kill the chick that is deadly to any living 
animal the chick uses in obtaining nutriment and in break- 
ing down its prison walls. A death-dealing poison under 
the operation of this chicken chemistry is made to manu- 
facture something that gives to the chick strength and a 
right to live. Nature has decreed that fresh air is neces- 
sary for the growing embryo, and while the shell protects 
the contents and prevents the entrance of disease germs 
and parasites, it admits air. As fresh air enters impure 


air is given off, and in passing out of the shell these im- 
purities aid in its decomposition; they dissolve certain food 
in the shell, mineral nutrients, that the chick uses in the 
growth of its body, and without which it would not come 
to life. The impurities or poisons are contained in the car- 
bonic acid gas given off by the chick, or exhaled by the 
lungs. This thing that poisons the body is used by the 
chick to dissolve the mineral elements of the shell needed 
in the growth of its body. The shell is honeycombed, so 
to speak, by this gas that has been cast off by the chick, 
and the dissolved elements pass into its'body. Without the 
lime extracted from the shell the chick would not have the 
strength to break through the shell, or breaking through 
would not have vitality to live. 

More than that, the chick utilizes materials in the shell 
itself for arming itself with a weapon concealed on the 
point of its beak to puncture a hole in its prison wall and 

Carbonic acid gas has an important function to perform 
in the development of the embryonic life of the chick. A 
healthy, strong-growing embryo is giving off considerable 
quantities of this gas, and this gas in passing through the 
pores of the shell dissolves the necessary minerals for the 
nutrition of the chick. As the chick grows there is an in- 
crease in the amount of carbon dioxide thrown off. Analysis 
showed more carbon dioxide in the incubator in the later 
stages of incubation than in the first. Analysis further 
showed more carbon dioxide under the sitting hen than in 
the incubator. There was a large amount found under the 
hen when sitting on glass or china eggs, which led to the 
discovery that carbon dioxide was being diffused through 
the skin of the hen's body. 

It has not yet been determined whether the same quantity 
of carbon dioxide must be present in the incubator as under 


the hen for successful hatching, but experiments at Utah 
in supplying artificially a large quantity of this gas rather 
injured than improved the hatching of the incubator. This 
has been corroborated by experiments at Storrs. It has 
not been proved that an artificial supply of carbon dioxide 
will help matters. 

Oil on Egg Shells. Investigation at the Oregon Station 
(Bulletin 100) has revealed another point in which it is 
difficult to imitate nature. It was discovered that the shells 
of eggs under the sitting hens contain a considerable 
quantity of oil. A fresh unincubated egg contained a small 
quantity of oil, but eggs that had been under the sitting hen 
for two weeks contained six times more oil, while the eggs 
that had been in the incubator contained practically the 
same amount as fresh eggs, proving that oil was deposited on 
the eggs by the hen. What the function of this oil is in in- 
cubation, is not yet known. 

Whatever may be the practical result, it is thus seen that 
the sitting hen is slowly giving up some of her secrets to 
scientific research. 



Artificial Brooding of chicks means furnishing them 
with proper temperature conditions by either natural or 
artificial heat during the stage of their growth when the 
heat of their bodies is not sufficient to maintain life. After 
they pass the age when they no longer require extra heat, 
the term brooding does not apply. 

The Length of the Brooding Period is about six weeks. 
The period varies, depending somewhat on the season of 
the year, or the weather. Successful brooding depends 
very largely upon so adjusting the brooder temperature 
that the chicks are able to do without artificial heat at the 
earliest possible stage. The temperature must be gradually 
lowered, so that the chick becomes gradually accustomed to 
colder air. 

Brooding Temperature. The chick is hatched in the 
incubator at a temperature of 103 degrees. Before it is 
taken out of the incubator, which should be within a day 
after the hatch is completed and the chick dry, this tem- 
perature should be reduced. The nursery under the egg 
tray is several degrees colder than the hatching tempera- 
ture. The incubator should be kept at a temperature of 
about 100 degrees until the chicks are removed, but extra 
ventilation should be given. After the chicks are all hatched 
and dry the door of the incubator should be left partly 
open to furnish sufficient fresh air. The width of the open- 
ing will depend upon the temperature of the incubator 
room. The best guide is the behavior of the chicks them- 



selves. The skilled attendant knows from the appearance 
of the chicks whether or not they have both heat and fresh 
air enough. If the chicks pant, the temperature is too high 
or the ventilation is insufficient. On the other hand, if the 
temperature is too low they will crowd together. It will 
be found -that this is the only safe guide to follow in regu- 
lating the temperature and ventilation of the brooders. It 
is impossible to raise chicks successfully where the chicks 
are not comfortable at all times, or where the temperature 
is allowed to go too high or too low at any time. 

The brooder should be thoroughly warmed up before 
putting the chicks into it. The temperature should be 
about 95 degrees about an inch from the floor before the 
chicks are put in. There should be a gradual daily lower- 
ing of the temperature until at the end of about four weeks 
it should be about 75 degrees, at which temperature it 
should be kept for two or three weeks, when artificial heat 
may be discontinued. There should be always sufficient 
heat during the day so that the chick when it gets cold 
may go to the hover or heater and get warmed quickly. 
If the temperature is too low they will get chilled and 
crowd together. The safe plan is to furnish sufficient heat 
so that the chicks will not crowd, but at the same time it is 
important that they have room to get away from the heat. 
They should have access to cool air as well as warm air. 

The brooder temperature will vary some according to 
the style of the brooder. With bottom heat the brooder 
floor will show a higher temperature, but an inch above the 
temperature should be lower than in a brooder with top 
heat. But the guide for the attendant should, in all cases, 
be the comfort of the chicks. If the chicks do not suffer 
at any time from either too much or too little heat there 
will be little danger of a high mortality, if other conditions 
are right, and if chicks of good vitality are put into the 


brooder. A too high or a too low temperature will result 
in an inevitable loss of chicks, which may extend over a 
period of several weeks, and also in weakened vitality in 
some that live. It should also be remembered that when 
chicks have once been overheated their powers of re- 
sistance have been weakened and they will be unable to 
stand the same degree of cold as others that have been kept 
under proper temperature conditions. 

Training the Chicks. In artificial brooding the at- 
tendant must do the training that in natural brooding is 
done by the hen. Success will depend very largely upon 
the attention given to the chicks during the first two or 
three days of their brooder life. The chick for the first 
two days does not know where to find the heat if it should 
get out from under the hover. It must be taught. By fre- 
quently pushing the chicks toward the heat they will soon 
learn to find it. They should be taught to leave the hover and 
seek the cooler fresh air occasionally for a time. They should 
be "kept going" between the heat and the cold for the first 
two or three days. At any rate, this training should be 
done several times a day for the first two days, and under 
no conditions should they be allowed to remain away from 
the heat until they begin to peep and crowd against each 
other for warmth. This is fatal. A little time spent, or a 
little "puttering," for the first two days will save a great 
deal of trouble and loss later. 

Ventilation. Where fifty or a hundred chicks are kept 
together in a brooder, that means a great many lungs call- 
ing for fresh air or oxygen. They need a little ventilation 
at the start, but comparatively little to what they require 
as they grow older. Ventilation as well as temperature 
must be elastic or progressive. Every day there is an in- 
creased demand for fresh air. A mistake is often made 
in cutting off on the heat as the chicks grow older, instead 


of increasing the ventilation. The temperature of the 
brooder may be lowered by increasing the ventilation or 
admitting more cool fresh air, and it is just as important 
that the fresh air be increased as that the brooder tempera- 
ture be decreased. 

Floor of the Brooder. The brooder floor should be 
covered an inch deep with clean sand. (See "Feeding the 
Chicks.") In two or three days when the chicks have 
learned to eat well, a little chaff or cut clover or alfalfa 
may be covered over the sand for the chicks to scratch in. 
It is well to begin with the sand. 

Sunlight. Whatever type of brooder is used it should 
be accessible to the sunlight. Disease germs do not thrive 
or multiply when exposed to the sunshine. 

Types of Brooders. There are many types of brooders 
in use, and each year sees a new crop of them. If some 
of the chicks die, the brooder is very likely to be blamed, 
and the next year another is tried. There is, as yet, a con- 
siderable divergence of opinion as to what constitutes the 
best type. All the sundry makes of brooders may be 
divided into the following classes : 

1. Individual lamp brooder, indoor and outdoor. 

2. Colony brooder. 

3. Hot water pipe brooder. 

4. Room or stove brooder, with or without hovers. 

5. Terra cotta brooder. 

6. Electric brooder. 

7. Fire! ess brooder. 

The Lamp Brooder. There are various types of lamp 
brooders. Some of these are made for outdoors and some 
for indoors use. There is more or less danger from fire 
from the lamp, and proper care should be given it to avoid 
burning the brooder and chicks. It is usually neglect 


where -a fire occurs. Individual lamp brooders range in 
capacity from about fifty to one hundred chicks. 

Colony Brooders. The colony brooder has many ad- 
vantages over other systems of brooding. It is not only a 
brooder but a growing house for the chicks after passing 
the brooding stage; it is in use most of the year. An in- 
dividual lamp brooder can be used only for a few weeks, 
then a house must be provided for the growing chicks. The 
colony brooding system is less expensive in equipment. A 
good type of colony brooder is shown in illustration of the 
Cornell gasolene brooder. This has a capacity of two 
hundred chicks. The cost for heating by gasolene amounts 
to from 2 to 10 cents a day, depending on the weather con- 
ditions. The cost to build is in the neighborhood of $36. 

A colony brooder may be heated by coal oil lamps. 
Lamps may be placed inside or outside the house and a de- 
tachable hover used inside. 

A Hot Water Jug may be used to furnish heat in a 
colony brooder and other brooders. A gallon jug, filled with 
hot water twice a day will furnish heat enough under a 
hover 2 feet square for fifty chicks. This is a fireless but 
not a heatless brooder. Two such jugs and hovers in a 
colony house 6x8 feet will take care of 100 chicks. 

A "Fireless and Henless" Brooder. Sometimes it is de- 
sirable to rear hen-hatched chicks in a brooder without the 
hen. We give an illustration of a home-made brooder on 
page 325. It is made out of a dry-goods box, a little burlap 
or flannel, and a gallon vinegar jug. The box may be 3 to 
4 feet long, 2% feet deep and 2y 2 feet wide, set on edge. 
Larger sized boxes, however, may be used. The hover 
should be about 2 feet square, high enough to put the jug 
under it. Strips of burlap about 4 inches wide are tacked 
on to the under side of the hover top, which is made of 
plain matched boards. These strips hang down all over 


the chicks, not merely around the edges of the hover, and 
the chicks nestle among the strips of cloth. The jug is 
filled with hot water and placed underneath in the center 
of the hover. If the water is too hot a little felt should be 
wrapped around the jug to avoid burning the chicks. This 
will also help to retain the heat longer. 

During the first week, the jug should be refilled night and 
morning. As the chicks grow older, once a day will be 

A dry goods box, a hover and a gallon jug of hot water. 

often enough. In warm weather the jug may be dispensed 
with when the chicks are two weeks old. Later, the hover 
may be removed and the box used for brooding the chicks 
till they are about three months old. This brooder will 
take care of fifty chicks easily. They should be given 
more room when two or three months old. In such a 
brooder, with felt or burlap strips hanging over the 
chicks, it requires very little artificial heat to keep them 
warm, as they keep themselves pretty comfortable when 
all are close together under the hover. Such a brooder may 
be used for both hen-hatched and incubator chicks. Fire- 


less brooders of this kind will rear chicks successfully, but 
a fireless brooder without heat of any kind is not practicable. 
If the weather is not too cold and the chicks have close at- 
tention the heatless brooder may raise chicks successfully, 
but the labor cost is great. 

Long Hot- Water Pipe Brooders. Where large num- 
bers of chicks are hatched at one time this is probably the 
most convenient way of brooding them. A heater is located 
at one end of the house, and from this hot-water pipes run 

(Courtesy Kansas Experiment Station.) 

the length of the house under hover but over the chicks. 
A brooder house a hundred feet in length or more may be 
heated in this way. This method has been largely used in 
the production of broilers. The main objection to this 
system is the cost of equipment. Where the purpose is to 
raise pullets for fall laying, the chickens have to be trans- 
ferred to other houses later. 

Experience has shown that it is not practicable to use 
this type of brooder house as a growing house for pullets. 
Pullets do better when put in open-air houses and given 
free range. With a brooder house of this kind it will pay 



to transfer the chickens to free range in open houses, where 
the purpose is to produce breeding stock or layers. "When 
this is done the cost of producing the mature pullet is 
greater than is necessary. The colony brooding house 
system is more economical. 

Stove or Room Brooding. This system is used where 
large numbers of chicks are hatched. A specially con- 


At a certain radius from the stove the chicks find the proper temperature. 
(Oregon Station.) 

structed oil-burner stove set in the center of a room about 
20 x 20 feet, furnishes the heat for 1,000 chicks or more. 
Sometimes a coal-burning stove is used. There are no par- 
titions or hovers. The heat is regulated so that at a dis- 
tance of about 2 feet from the stove, and in a circle around 
it, the chicks find a proper brooding temperature. Closer 
it is too hot, farther away, too cold. At night the chicks 
cover a space of about 12 inches wide and 2 feet from the 


stove. During the day they run all around the room and 
get exercise in that way. 

During the first few nights a "fence" 12 inches high, 
made of poultry netting covered with burlap, is placed in 
a circle around the stove, but several feet farther away 
from the stove than the chicks. This keeps the floor a little 
warmer and prevents the chicks getting into the corners of 
the room. Among the advantages of this system is con- 
venience of operation and saving of labor. The oil is fed 


automatically to the burner from a tank on the outside 
wall, and it requires very little attention. Occasionally the 
soot clogs up the burner, and sometimes the stovepipe will 
burn out, with some danger of setting fire to the house. 
Should the heat for any reason be shut off, there will be a 
large mortality where so many chicks are kept together. 
This system has not given the results in growth of chicks 
that is desirable in a good brooding system. 

A Room Brooder with Hover. A modification of the 
room brooding system is to substitute for the stove in the 
center of the room a gasolene or distillate heater placed in 
a lean-to and lower than the floor. From this a hot-air 



flue conveys the heat under the floor and up through an 
opening in the center of the room. A hover 6 or 7 feet 
square is set in the center of the room and over the hot-air 
inlet. This system is more satisfactory than the stove 
heater without the hover and is much more economical in 



fuel or oil. A thousand chicks may be brooded in such a 
brooder house with this system of heating and hovering. 
The main contention, however, remains unsolved as to 
whether it is possible to raise chicks as successfully in 
flocks as large as 1,000 in one room as in smaller flocks. 
It is undoubtedly true that as the numbers in the flock in- 
crease the tendency is for the mortality to increase and for 




Heat comes up through the floor, under the hover, which is shown raised in 

the picture. 

Farm of J. W. George, Petaluma. 



a retarded growth. 
Whether the differ- 
ence is great enough 
to warrant the extra 
labor cost involved in 
keeping them in small 
flocks, is open to 
doubt. Where sev- 
eral thousand chicks 
are hatched, the old 
system o f keeping 
them in flocks of 
fifty is hardly prac- 
ticable on account of 
the labor cost as well 
as equipment cost. 

Brooding Systems 
in General. It should 
be understood by the 
poultryman that the 
brooder is not always 
responsible for chick 
mortality. The 
chicks die sometimes 
in spite of the brood- 
er. If they do, the 
poultryman should 
not conclude at once 
that the brooder is 
wrong and proceed to 
purchase or build a 
new one. It has been 
abundantly demon- 
strated that the 




chicks often come to the brooder with vitality so 
low that it is impossible to raise them. The trouble 
may have been in faulty methods of incubation, or it may 
be traced back to a lack of vigor in the breeding stock that 
laid the eggs. A simple experiment of setting a few hens 
at the time the incubators are set, using the same kind of 
eggs and brooding the chicks naturally, will show whether 
the fault was in the breeding stock or not. 



100 C.... 

f CO CA.v*j 



* * L* _^ * 

r 5 ^M^'^-''^ 5 !^!] 

, i 

** -J pj "^ 





l ^ 





This brooder has been largely used by the Petaluma poultry raisers. Besides 
being cheaply constructed, it is economical in fuel. 



During the past few years considerable attention has 
been directed to the importance of improved methods of 
marketing poultry products. This is a subject that con- 
cerns the consumer as well as the producer. To the former 
it is a question of how to get eggs and chickens of good 
quality and at prices he can afford to pay. To the pro- 
ducer it is a question of handling the eggs and marketing 
them in such a way that he can get a satisfactory profit. 
Improved methods of marketing would mean a larger busi- 
ness, as well as a more profitable one, because there would 
be a much greater consumption of eggs and chickens if the 
consumer could always be assured of their good quality. 
The poultry-keeper is vitally interested in anything that 
will increase the consumption of poultry and eggs and also 
in anything that will enable him, through better handling 
of the product, to get it to the consumer in a condition that 
will bring him a higher profit. 

The poultryman must not give less attention to produc- 
tion, but he must give more earnest attention to efficiency 
in marketing if he would not lose what he may have gained 
in efficiency in production. It is one thing to produce the 
chickens and the eggs, it is another to get value for them. 
There is a pleasure in producing a superior article, but the 
producer measures his success finally by the market returns. 


Two factors that the poultryman must consider in seek- 
ing a good market for his eggs are quality and quantity, 



in other words the two Q's. If he has both Q's there is no 
reason why he may not develop a special market and reap 
a special profit. A few cents difference in the price received 
for his eggs may not amount to much in the course of a 
week or a month, but in the course of a year, if he has only 
a hundred hens, the difference between a good and a poor 
market would amount to probably $50, or 50 cents per hen ; 
or $500 on a thousand hens. This represents an increase 
of 20 or 25%. The great majority, however, of the pro- 
ducers do not keep one hundred hens. The average farm 
flock is about 50 hens, and there is not much incentive for 
the owner to work out better marketing methods. 

In the first place he has not the quantity of eggs to make 
regular shipments. He cannot go to a dealer or retailer or 
to private consumers and guarantee a certain number of 
cases a week or twice a week. He may produce the quality, 
but without the quantity it will not profit him much. On 
the other hand he may have the quantity, but not the qual- 
ity, and he will lose a large part of his profits. The pro- 
ducer cannot expect the highest prices unless he has in ad- 
dition to quantity the quality that will command them. 

The problem of marketing is a simple one to the pro- 
ducer who has a large flock, but to the small producer it is 
a difficult one, though the small producer in the aggregate 
furnishes the great bulk of the poultry products of the 
country. The producers are suffering a loss in marketing 
the product of probably 20 to 25%, or anywhere from fifty 
to a hundred million dollars a year in the United States, 
because they individually have neither the quantity nor the 
quality to interest them in better marketing methods. They 
lack the two Q 's. Is this loss inevitable ? Not necessarily. 

Where is the remedy, if there be any ? In the first place, 
the remedy is largely educational. The trouble has been 
located and the remedy is known ; it is a question of apply- 


ing it. A study must be made of egg quality. The differ- 
ence in quality of eggs and the factors affecting the quality 
must be clearly demonstrated to the producer and con- 
sumer alike. When the former understands fully that the 
egg is a perishable product and that 15 to 20% of the real 
value of the egg is lost in the handling under present 
marketing methods ; in other words, that the quality of the 
egg varies to this extent, it will not be very long before the 
producer sets about rectifying this great marketing blunder. 
He will set about improving the quality. 

In the next place there must be developed a greater com- 
munity of interest among the producers, in other words, co- 
operation. If the business is going to continue to be a busi- 
ness of small producers it is imperative that they get to- 
gether to the extent at least that regular guaranteed ship- 
ments may be made in sufficient quantity, if the direct 
method of selling is to be followed. 

If, on the other hand, the indirect method is to be fol- 
lowed, that is, selling the product through dealers instead 
of shipping direct to consumers, then the producers should 
co-operate to the extent of compelling the dealers to modify 
or reform their methods of buying. Egg production is a 
part of a well regulated system of diversified farming, and 
if this system of farming is to be permanently successful 
there must be a greater community of interest developed. 

Indirect Selling. Two distinct methods are followed in 
marketing poultry products. They may be called direct and 
indirect. The indirect route varies somewhat in length 
or efficiency. Shipping to the retailer comes nearest 
to the direct method in efficiency. The most indirect way 
is where the producer sells to the huckster, the huckster to 
the local store or shipper ; the latter to the commission man 
in the city, who sells to the jobber, and the jobber to the 
retailer, the eggs finally reaching the consumer from the 


retailer. That means five middlemen. Some of these mid- 
dlemen, however, have been eliminated in many markets. 

By far the largest proportion of eggs reach the consumer 
by the indirect route. The reason is largely because the 
community of interest or co-operative spirit is not highly 
developed among the farmers or producers. It is fair to 
say that during the past two or three years considerable 
progress has been made in improving the service and lessen- 
ing the cost of marketing eggs by the direct as well as in- 
direct method. The business of buying eggs on commission 
and the abuses that followed have been largely eliminated 
in most of the large markets. The bulk of the business is 
now done by large jobbers. The service has been improved 
and the cost of marketing reduced. Many of these jobbers 
have large storage plants, which afford an outlet for sur- 
plus stock during the season of plenty. 

How the Costs are Added. The tabular exhibit on 
page 337 shows how, through -the indirect method, the costs 
are added to the egg in New York City before it reaches the 
consumer. It is taken from a report of a State Food In- 
vestigating Commission. 

The cost of marketing is here shown to be over 50% of 
the amount received by the producer. This would not apply 
to all markets ; the cost would be less in some. In a western 
state on July 30, farmers were receiving 22y 2 cents a dozen 
in trade from the local stores, or 21 cents in cash. The 
local stores received 22^ cents from the jobbers after pay- 
ing express charges to the city one hundred miles distant. 
The retailer paid the jobber 27 cents, and the retailer sold 
the eggs to the consumer at 30 cents to 35 cents, depending 
on the grade. Good eggs that the producer received 21 
cents for were sold to the consumer for 35 cents. Eggs 
from another producer that were not as good were paid for 
at the same rate, 21 cents, but were finally sold to the con- 
sumer for 30 cents. 



Per dozen 

Producer's price $0.20 $0.20 

Shipper's charges : 

(a) Labor in collection and packing 005 

(b) Cases, fillers, and packing 0073 

(c) Transportation charges to city 0106 .023 

Commission for handling 01 .01 

Jobber's charges: 

(a) Cartage from dock to store 00133 

(b) Candling and grading 00666 

(c) Storage and insurance 016 

(d) Jobber's profit and charges 01 

(e) Delivery to the retailer 004 .038 

Retailer's charges : 

(a) Operating expenses, 10% 0271 

(6) Retailer profit, 5% 01497 .042 

Price paid by consumer $0.313 

By direct marketing is meant selling direct to the con- 
sumer by the producer, or an association of producers, and 
indirect marketing is the method followed where the eggs 
pass through the hands of one or more middlemen after 
leaving the farm and before reaching the consumer. 

Direct Selling. The most profit will be made by ship-' 
ping direct to consumers, in this way eliminating all mid- 
dlemen charges. The producer should endeavor to establish 
a trade with city customers. It is possible to furnish the 
consumer eggs of first quality at prices lower than he pays 
for eggs of the same quality through the regular channels 
of trade, and at the same time secure a better price than he 
could otherwise secure. 

This was demonstrated by the poultry department of the 
Oregon Agricultural College. For better eggs than he for- 
merly got for 35 cents a dozen the consumer paid the pro- 



ducer 27 cents, plus express, which was about 3 cents a 
dozen. This was a gain of 6 cents to the farmer over the 
usual method of selling to local stores, and a saving to the 
consumer of 5 cents a dozen. The eggs were shipped in 
crates of 12 dozen. Some of the customers divided the 
eggs with their neighbors ; others used them all, though they 
had to keep some of them two or three weeks. At the end 
of that time they reported that the eggs were better than 

those purchased at 
stores. This is a trade 
worth looking after. 
The disadvantag- 
es of direct selling 
are, first, that the 
express charges op- 
erate against ship- 
ping in small quan- 
tities. The express 
charges on a!2-dozen 
case may be about as 
much as on a 30-doz- 
en case, and two 
cases of 30 dozen may be shipped at the same cost prac- 
tically as one case. If the express charges were to be fixed 
at so much a dozen, irrespective of the size of crate or num- 
ber of dozens shipped, it would encourage the extension of 
direct shipment. As now, the rates make it an object for 
the farmer who has good eggs to sell to take them to the 
local shipper at the same price another farmer gets who has 
poor eggs to sell, because the local shipper can ship the eggs 
at less cost than the individual farmer on account of be- 
ing able to make larger shipments. 

Second, there will be times when the producer will have 


This crate may be used for shipping eggs to 
consumers by express or parcel post, direct from 
the farm. 


a surplus of eggs that he has no regular customers for ; then 

there will also be 
culls. For these he 
must find another 
market. These 
would usually have 
to be marketed 
through the indirect 
way. Third, there 
there would be the 
cost of collection, or 
the probable loss 
from bad accounts. 
A ROASTER By requiring a bank 

Showing method of packing in a parcel post package, reference, <> r Other 

satisfactory refer- 
ence, there would be little probability of loss. 

Selling to City Retail Stores. Retail stores offer a 
market that should not be overlooked. Shipping direct to 
retailers comes near being direct selling. The producer 
can ship in larger quantities than he can to private cus- 
tomers and obtain a better express rate. Retail stores that 
have a fancy trade 
will pay a premium 
for fancy eggs. 
They have the mar- 
keting machinery all 
ready running. 
They attend to de- 
liveries and collec- 
tions. The poultry- 
man who can guar- 
antee regular case 
shipments of high A PARCEL POST PACKAGE 

quality Stock Will Showing eggs wrapped. 



often do as well by shipping to the retail stores as in any 
other way. 

Hotel and Restaurant Trade. There is no reason why 
the producers should not be able to furnish the hotel and 
restaurant trade where they have the quantity and quality 
of eggs. "Why it is not now done more largely is due 
primarily to a lack of business management on the part of 
producers more than anything else. If the producer has 
the quality and quantity he should go to the best hotels and 
restaurants and endeavor to find a market. 

Parcel Post Shipments. It has been fairly well demon- 
strated that market eggs may be shipped successfully by 
parcel post. By a recent ruling of the post office depart- 
ment packages weighing as much as 50 pounds may be sent 
by mail. The main objection to parcel post shipments has 
been that the cost of the container 
or parcel has been too great to 
admit of a profit being made. Dif- 
f e r e n t manufacturers, however, 
have been at work on the problem, 
and containers may now be ob- 
tained at prices that are within 
reach. It is not expected that a 
profit can be made by the producer 
unless he can get a little higher 
price for the eggs than is paid for 
second grade eggs in the city. The 
producer in working up a parcel 
post trade must cater to that class 
of consumers who wish eggs of su- 
perior quality and are willing to 
THE CARRIER pay more for them than for eggs 

The rural mail carrier takes of inferior quality. The consumer 

the eggs from the farm to the . , -. ,, . 

post-office. is able to secure in this way eggs 


of first quality at the same price he pays for eggs of poorer 
quality. There will, however, always be another class of 
consumers who are unable or unwilling to pay the price 
that will enable the producer to ship them by parcel post. 

The post office department has made certain regulations 
in regard to shipments that the shipper must observe. The 
package must be made in such a way that the contents of 
the egg, if broken, will not run out of the package and in- 
jure other mail matter. To obviate this it is required that 
each egg be wrapped separately, except when in packages 
exceeding 20 pounds ; those are not required to be wrapped. 
All parcels must be labeled EGGS. Parcels weighing more 
than 20 pounds will be accepted, but the crates or boxes 
must have tight bottoms. Such packages must be marked 
"Eggs this side up." They will be transported outside 
mail bags. Producers wishing addresses of manufacturers 
of shipping packages, may apply to their home state ex- 
periment stations. 

The larger the package or the more eggs shipped in one 
package, the lower the cost per dozen for parcel post. For 
instance, in the first and second zones the first pound costs 
5 cents, while each additional pound up to fifty, costs but 1 
cent. A twenty-pound parcel would cost 24 cents or 1.4 
cents a pound. Five dozen eggs weighing, with container, 
ten pounds, will cost for postage in a distance from 50 to 
150 miles, 14 cents, or 2.8 cents a dozen. The return postage 
would be 6 or 7 cents. The postage should be charged to 
the customer, likewise the cost of the container. When the 
container is returned the customer would be given credit 
for it. 

To make the business a success there must be mutual co- 
operation between the producer and consumer. It must be 
understood by the producer that the consumer will purchase 
his eggs only so long as he can furnish a superior article. 


On the other hand, it will be understood by the consumer 
that he will secure from the producer better eggs than he 
can secure through indirect channels at the same price. 
It means a better profit to the producer and at the same 
time a saving to the consumer. 

The producer should be fully alive to the possibilities of 
this method of selling and should take particular care to 
grade his eggs as to size and color, separating the white and 
the brown eggs and discarding all under-sized and over- 
sized, ill-shapen and dirty or stained eggs. Above all, he 
must be sure that he ships nothing that is not perfectly 
fresh. He will not long retain his customers unless he 
gives heed to those points. Again, it will pay well to use 
neat and clean packages and also a wrapping-paper of 
proper size and quality. By treating the customers fairly 
and pleasing them he will be able to secure others because 
a pleased customer will recommend others to him. 

In regard to fixing the price, probably the most prac- 
ticable method is to have an agreement with the consumer 
that the price will be the highest wholesale quotations in 
the daily papers plus so many cents premium. This should 
be sufficient to pay the postage and package, and the cost 
of the extra care given the eggs. 

Comparison of Direct and Indirect Selling. As be- 
tween the two methods of selling direct and indirect the 
former undoubtedly favors the maintenance of the higher 
standard of quality. In shipping to consumers the producer 
is directly responsible for his product. Any complaint will 
come to him direct. He is able to retain his customers only 
so long as he furnishes eggs of superior quality. He has 
a direct interest in the quality of his product. By the in- 
direct method the producer's identity is not known. "When 
his eggs are marketed with those of a hundred other 
farmers, there is no particular object in taking pains to 


preserve the quality. Second, by the direct method the pro- 
ducer of good eggs is able to get a price for them which he 
is not able to secure when his eggs are marketed in common 
with those of various other producers. Third, by shipping 
direct to consumers he is able to add to his profits a part at 
least of the profit that went to various middlemen. There 
will always be needed, however, an outlet for surplus stock 
which is only furnished at present through the medium of 
the jobber and retailer. 

Buying by Quality. This brings up the question of buy- 
ing by quality. The greatest objection to present methods 
of marketing eggs is the heretofore almost universal prac- 
tice of dealers paying for them by the dozen without refer- 
ence to their quality. There is one price for eggs at the 
local stores. A farmer who once a week gathers his eggs 
from stolen nests under the barn and in the fence corners 
and takes them to town, gets the i ( going price ' ' at the store. 
Another farmer who gathers the eggs regularly from clean 
nests once a day and twice a day in hot weather and takes 
them to town every two or three days, gets the same ' ' going 
price. ' ' He has no inducement to maintain the good quality 
of his eggs. The system does not encourage it; rather it 
encourages carelessness on the part of the producer. It 
offers a premium on dishonesty. The wonder is, on the 
one hand, that the producer is able to maintain his in- 
tegrity, and on the other that the consumer is able to get 
an egg of good quality. 

Before the eggs reach the consumer the broody hen sits 
on them a while, the sun incubates them a while, the rail- 
road rides on them a while, the city storekeeper broods 
over them a while, and the consumer raves over them quite 
a while. 

The storekeeper is not alone responsible for this method. 
The dealers and commission men follow the same method 


in buying from, the storekeeper. They buy them by the 
case-count. It is called the case-count system. During the 
past few years an active campaign has begun in several 
states to do away with the case-count system and substitute 
a system of buying on the basis of quality. This means 
that the dealer in purchasing a case of eggs candles them, 
computes the loss due to shrinkage, blood-rings, etc., and 
pays accordingly. This is known as the "loss-off" method 
of buying, which is really paying according to quality. If 
this system comes fully into vogue it will result in saving 
millions of dollars a year to the producers, for the loss 
finally is charged up against the producer. It will also 
fasten the attention of the producer on the importance of 
breeding for size of egg, feeding for quality in the egg, and 
on methods of handling the egg that will best preserve its 

Grades of Eggs. Under the old system, an "egg was 
an egg," and at the present day, in the majority of primary 
markets, one egg is as good as another. Now before eggs 
reach the consumers in large cities they have to stand an 
examination, and the expert finds that there are various 
kinds of eggs, and a name or grade is given to each kind. 
The different grades of eggs recognized by expert candlers 
in the large markets are described in Bulletin 160, Bureau 
of Animal Industry, as follows : 

Fresh Egg. An egg to be accepted as a first, or fresh 
egg, must be newly laid, clean, of normal size, showing a 
very small air cell, and must have a strong, smooth shell 
of even color and free from cracks. 

Checks. This term applies to eggs which are cracked 
but not leaking. 

Leakers. As indicated by the name, this term applies 
to eggs which have lost a part of their contents. 

Seconds. The term "seconds" applies to eggs which 


have deteriorated to a sufficient extent as to be rejected as 
firsts. The several classes of eggs which go to make up this 
grade may be defined as follows : 

(a) Heated Egg. One in which the embryo has pro- 
ceeded to a point corresponding to about 18 to 24 hours of 
normal incubation. In the infertile egg this condition can 
be recognized by the increased color of the yolk ; when held 
before the candle it will appear heavy and slightly darker 
than in the fertile egg. 

(b) Shrunken Egg. This class of seconds can be easily 
distinguished by the size of the air cell. It may occupy 
from one-fifth to one-third of the space inside the shell. 

(c) Small Egg. Any egg that will detract from the 
appearance of normal eggs on account of its small size will 
come under this class, although it may be a new-laid egg. 

(d) Dirty Egg. Fresh eggs which have been soiled with 
earth, droppings, or egg contents, or badly stained by com- 
ing in contact with wet straw, hay, etc., are classed as 

(e) Watery Egg. Those in which the inner membrane 
of the air cell is ruptured, allowing the air to escape into 
the contents of the egg, and thereby giving a watery or 
frothy appearance. 

(f) Presence of Foreign Matter in Eggs. Often eggs 
are laid which show small clots of blood about the size of 
a pea. These are sometimes termed " liver " or "meat" 

(g) Badly Misshaped Eggs. Eggs which are extremely 
long or very flat, or in which part of the shell's surface is 
raised in the form of a ring ; in other instances a number of 
hard, wart-like growths appear on the outside of the shell. 

Spots. Eggs in which bacteria or mold growth has de- 
veloped locally and caused the formation of a lumpy ad- 
hesion on the inside of the shell. 


Blood Rings. Eggs in which the embryo has developed 
to a sufficient extent so that it is quickly recognized when 
held before the candle. 

Rots. Eggs which are absolutely unfit for food. The 
different classes of rots may be defined as follows : 

(a) Black Rot. This is the easiest class of rots to recog- 
nize and consequently the best known. When the egg is 
held before the candle, the contents have a blackish appear- 
ance, and in most cases the air cell is very prominent. The 
formation of hydrogen-sulphid gas in the egg causes the 
contents to blacken and gives rise to the characteristic 
rotten-egg smell, and sometimes causes the egg to explode. 

(b) White Rot. These eggs have a characteristic sour 
smell. The contents become watery, the yolk and white 
mixed, and the whole egg offensive to both the sight and the 
smell. It is also known as the ' * mixed rot. ' ' 

(c) Spot Rot. In this case the foreign growth has not 
contaminated the entire egg, but has remained near the 
point of entrance. Such eggs are readily picked out with 
the candle, and when broken show lumpy particles adhering 
to the inside of the shell. These lumps are of various colors 
and appearances. 

White and Brown Eggs. The color of the shell in cer- 
tain markets affects the price of the egg. Most markets in 
the United States prefer the white egg. New York markets 
pay a premium for white eggs. Among the best grades, 
brown eggs sell for about 20% less than white eggs. There 
is no difference, however, in price of cheaper grades on ac- 
count of color. In San Francisco the brown egg is also 
discounted. In Boston the reverse is true, the brown egg 
being preferred. 

This does not mean that there is any difference in the 
quality of the brown and the white egg. The difference 
in price is, however, undoubtedly due in part to the mis- 


taken notion that there is such a difference in quality. The 
color of the shell has nothing to do with the quality of the 

Classification of Eggs. The classification of eggs is con- 
trolled by city mercantile bodies interested in the buying 
and selling of farm produce. The classification varies in 
different cities. The average producer knows no classifica- 
tion; in other words, on the farm "eggs is eggs"; but by 
the time they reach the city markets there is a rigid 
culling and they are separated into many grades or classes. 
A study of these grades and classifications indicates that 
the losses occur largely through wrong methods of handling 
the eggs before they leave the farm, and the producer must 
be the loser in the end. 

The following, taken from the New York Times of 
May 1, 1914, shows the many different classes into which 
eggs are divided by dealers in that city and the range of 
values placed upon them: 

Fresh gathered extras, 23, 23% cents. 

Storage packed firsts, 22, 22% cents. 

Regular packed firsts, 21%, 22 cents. 

Seconds, 20%, 21 cents. 

Thirds and fourths, 19%, 20 cents. 

Number 1 dirties 19% cents. 

Number 2 dirties 16, 18 cents. 

Checks good to prime, dry 18, 19 cents. 

State, Penn. and nearby hennery, whites fine to fancy 24 cents. 

Gathered whites, fine to finest, 23% cents. 

State, Penn. and nearby whites, fair to good, 22, 23 cents. 

Western gathered whites, 22, 22% cents. 

State, Penn. and nearby hennery browns, 23, 23% cents. 

Gathered brown and mix colors, 21, 22 cents. 

Baltimore selected, 22, 23 cents. 

Western, 20, 22 cents. 

Tenn. and other good Southern, 19, 21 cents. 

Far Southern, 17, 18 cents. 


The following quotations from the Chicago Herald of 
August 23, 1914, gives the grades recognized in that city 
and the relative values placed upon different grades. The 
range on that date was from 27 to 15 cents a dozen : 

Extras 26, 27 cents 

Firsts 22, 23 cents 

Ordinary firsts 19%, 20% cents 

CKecks 15, 16% cents 

Dirties 16, 17% cents 

Miscellaneous lots 16% to 22% cents 

Conditions that Injure the Quality of Eggs. While 
the new-laid egg is "one of the most delicious morsels to 
the human palate and one to fill the heart of man with 
loving-kindness, ' ' it should be clearly understood that under 
certain conditions it rapidly loses its peculiar excellence. 
It is a perishable article. The rate of deterioration is in- 
fluenced by many things, such as : 

Insufficient Nests. A new-laid egg may not be fresh; 
that is, it may have lost its freshness by the time it is 
gathered in the evening if there are insufficient nests for 
the hens. If hens are continually on the nests throughout 
the day the embryo may begin to develop in the fertile eggs. 
At any rate, they will have lost some of their freshness. 
When the nests are crowded all day it is a sign that there 
are too few nests. 

The Broody Hen. At certain seasons of the year the 
broody hens are responsible for a considerable loss in the 
quality of the eggs. If permitted to remain with the flock 
of layers the broody hens will injure a great many eggs by 
sitting on them and starting incubation. 

Stolen Nests. Rotten and stale eggs often come from 
the stolen nests. They are found by the children under the 
corn-crib, in the straw or hay-stack or fence corner. When 
these "finds" are mixed with the regular supply of fresh 


eggs and the city consumer gets one on his breakfast table, 
it will be "no more eggs for him," and the consumption 
of eggs is curtailed. With proper nesting arrangements 
the hens will not be so likely to steal their nests. 

Dirty Nests. Dirty nests affect the flavor and keeping 
qualities of the egg. Germs of decomposition may enter 
the egg ; dirt stains on the egg will spoil it for select trade. 
The nests should frequently be examined and the nesting 
material renewed. Clean, fine hay or straw in the nest 
will help to keep up the quality and grade of the eggs. 

Fertility of Eggs. The starting of incubation or the 
development of the embryo starts most of the trouble be- 
tween producer and consumer. If there were no males in 
the flock and the eggs were not fertile there would be fewer 
complaints of bad eggs. It has been estimated that the loss 
in quality of eggs due to the presence of males in the flock 
amounts to millions of dollars a year in this country. Males 
are necessary to fertilize the eggs for hatching, but not for 
any other purpose. The infertile eggs have better keeping 
qualities in warm weather than the fertile. There is no 
difference in the egg yield whether the males run with the 
flock or not. They should be removed from the yards after 
the breeding season is past. If not desired for breeding in 
another season the males should be marketed. Keeping 
them till fall only means that a lower price will be received 
for them. If, however, eggs are kept in a cool place, or at 
a temperature low enough to prevent germ development, it 
will make no difference in their keeping qualities whether 
fertile or not. 

Gathering the Eggs. In cold weather if the eggs are 
left in the nest over night they are liable to freeze, and in 
warm weather if they are not regularly and frequently 
gathered there is likely to be germ development. In cer- 
tain sections of the country where the temperature f re- 


quently reaches a point where incubation will begin, the 
eggs must be frequently gathered. The rule for gathering 
the eggs should be, once a day, except in warm weather 
when it should be twice a day. 

Storing or Keeping the Eggs. Cooling the eggs checks 
deterioration. After being gathered they should be kept 
in a moderately cool place until shipped. The best tem- 
perature is between 45 and 60 degrees. A cool, dry cellar 
is the best place. Objectionable odors may pass through 
the shell to the contents. The eggs should not, therefore, 
be stored near decaying vegetables, coal oil, or other things 
that may injure their flavor. 

Shipping the Eggs. The eggs should be shipped to 
market as frequently as possible, at least once a week, and 
in warm weather twice a week. The fresh egg soon be- 
comes a stale egg. 

Clean Eggs. To grade as first quality the eggs must 
be clean. The hen covers the egg contents with a clean 
shell to preserve its purity; the poultryman should be as 
careful to keep its exterior clean. Dirty nests and dirty 
yards cause the dirty eggs. Dirty yards mean dirty feet 
and dirty feet mean dirty eggs, and dirty eggs mean loss 
of profits. 

Washing the Eggs. Washing the eggs may injure their 
keeping qualities and spoil their natural appearance. It 
is better, however, to wash the eggs than to market them 
dirty. Rubbing with a clean, moist cloth may be all that 
is necessary. A little washing powder or sapolio may be 
used where necessary. 

Taking the Eggs to Market. Sometimes the quality of 
the eggs is injured on the way from farm to town. If the 
sun on a hot day in a long drive strikes on the eggs it will 
injure them seriously. The sun is an incubator, and it is 
not well to incubate eggs that are intended for the break- 


fast table of some city customer who believes in pure food 
and good living. Undue jarring of the eggs should also 
be obviated. 

Exposing for Sale. A great many retailers treat eggs 
as though their quality was improved by warmth. In cold 
weather the eggs have a place near the stove very frequently, 
and in summer they are put in the window where they can 
get the benefit of the sunshine. This treatment should be 
reversed. Displaying eggs in the window where the hot 
sun strikes on them is not a good advertisement for the 

Grading Eggs. In large markets eggs are graded ac- 
cording to size, color, and quality. Consumers must have 
some assurance of the quality of the eggs, otherwise they 
will be afraid to eat them. The grading of eggs, therefore, 
by assuring purchasers of their quality, tends to increase 
consumption and the profits of the producer. 

1. Size. The poultryman should breed for size of egg 
as well as number. The importance of this has not been 
brought home to him very strongly, because his eggs have, 
in most cases, been paid for by the dozen and not by weight 
or size. In the future the size of eggs must be reckoned 
with. "Whether they will be sold by the pound or the grade, 
the larger eggs will command the higher prices. This is 
now the rule in many of the leading markets. Poultry- 
men should not be satisfied until their flocks produce eggs 
that average two ounces per egg, or l 1 /^ pounds per dozen. 
Hens laying smaller eggs should not be used as breeders. 
Uniformity in size has also a market value. The very 
large egg as well as the very small egg should not be used 
for the special trade. The more uniform the size the better 
the eggs look. Care and feeding of the fowls have an in- 
fluence on size of egg, as explained in Chapter XI. 

2. Color. Uniformity in color has also a market value 



as shown by market quotations in several of the large 
centers. The preference of consumers for eggs of a certain 
color is based on a fad, but so long as the fad does not 
interfere with his business the poultryman will take 
cognizance of it and endeavor to furnish eggs of the color 
that will command the highest price, whether they be white 
or brown. In many markets no importance is placed on 
color, but if the poultryman has eggs of different colors it 
will pay him to separate them, filling one end of the crate 
with white and the other with browns if he has not enough 
to make a case of each, or if cartons are used they may be 
separated in this way. 

3. Shape of Egg. Abnormal eggs should be culled out. 
These include double-yolked eggs, ill-shapen eggs and soft- 
shelled eggs. "With proper at- 
tention to breeding and man- 
agement of the fowls the percent- 
age of culls should be small. 

4. The Egg Contents. Eggs 
that are either too highly colored 
or too pale in the yolk are objec- 
tionable. The color is controlled 
by the feed. (See Chapter XI.) 

5. Candling. The quality of 
the egg contents is determined by 
candling. By candling it is meant 
that tl^e egg is subjected to a light 
that reveals, for all practical pur- 
poses, its real market value. 
There are various methods of 
candling eggs. In early methods 
a tallow candle was used, hence 
the origin of the name candling. 
A candle was put inside of a 


(Courtesy, Bureau of Chemis- 
try, U. S. Department of Agri- 



small box in which a hole, a trifle smaller than 
an egg had been cut, and by holding an egg at the 
opening the condition of the egg could be seen. The 
candling is done in a reasonably dark room. Instead of a 
candle an ordinary oil lamp may be used, placing the lamp 
in a box. A tin chimney, with a hole in the side, may be 


A kerosene lamp set inside of a shoe box or a 
cereal box, with a hole opposite lamp flame, makes 
a good tester. 

put on the lamp in place of the glass chimney. Special 
testers or chimneys of this kind may be purchased at poul- 
try supply houses. An electric light bulb may be used in- 
side of an ordinary shoe box, or other box. Expert candlers 
usually use a tester having two holes so that he can take 
two eggs up at one time, one in each hand. A length of 
stovepipe, with two holes in the side and an electric light 



bulb inside, is frequently used. An expert candler can 
test 1,000 dozen eggs in a day. 

Consumers Should Candle Their Eggs. If the con- 
sumer wishes to assure himself, before eating the eggs, that 

they are all right, he 
may very readily do so 
by using a small shoe 
box or breakfast cereal 
box with the electric 
light. It should not con- 
sume more than a 
minute to candle a dozen 
or two dozen eggs in this 
way. He may detect the 
bad egg or determine 
the quality of the egg 
without first breaking it 
on to his breakfast toast. 
He can also check up on 
the grocer or farmer as 
to the age of the egg, 
and assure himself that he has not purchased a stale egg un- 
der the name of new-laid. If the eggs are not up to the 
guarantee he can politely send them back to the grocer ; or 
if the case is an aggravated or flagrant one, turn the eggs 
over to the pure food officers for whatever action they may 
take in the matter. Usually, however, if the consumer deals 
with a reliable farmer he will very seldom have occasion 
to complain of the eggs not being as represented. Nor will 
there often be occasion for complaint against a reliable 
grocer who candles and guarantees his eggs. 

The Fresh Egg. The test of a fresh egg is its trans- 
parency and the smallness of its air space. There is no air 
space in an egg just as it is deposited warm and moist in 

Instead of a kerosene lamp, an electric light 
bulb may be hung inside the box. 



the nest. As the egg cools, the contents contract and the 
air cell or air space appears. The shell being porous, the 
air space grows larger by evaporation all the time the egg 
is kept, the evaporation being fast or slow according as the 
temperature is high or low. Commercially an egg is fresh 
though it shows a small air space. If properly kept, an 
egg may taste perfectly fresh and pass in the market as a 

Note small air space. 


Note large air space, yolk settled to one 
side, showing dark. 

fresh egg when a week old, or more. In some state laws 
it is enacted that when an egg has been kept or stored thirty 
days it is no longer a fresh egg. Kept under improper con- 
ditions, however, an egg would not test as a fresh egg, when 
two or three days old. The egg itself furnishes the evidence 
as to its freshness. The fresh egg is good legal tender at 
the country store, but when so used it should be treated as 
counterfeit currency by the time it reaches the consumer. 

Marking Eggs. The trade-mark of the egg producer is 
frequently stamped on the egg. This is easily and quickly 
done with a small rubber stamp one-half an inch in diameter 


or less. The name of the producer or the name of his farm, 
with address, may be stamped on the egg; also the words 
"guaranteed fresh. " "Where eggs are shipped through an 
association of producers the usual method is to give each 
farmer a stamp on which is the name of the association, 
with a number for each farmer. In this way if a consumer 
finds fault with the eggs he purchases he will send his com- 
plaint to the association, giving the number on the egg. 
The association manager knows from this number where the 
eggs came from, and the farmer is notified. 

The stamp on the egg is the best advertisement the pro- 
ducer can have. If he can always furnish eggs of good 
quality it is worth his while to put his trade-mark on them. 
Every pound of butter or coffee, every 5-cent can of con- 
densed milk, or loaf of bread, in fact about everything that 
the housekeeper buys from the grocer bears the stamp of 
the manufacturer. This advertises his goods and at the 
same time protects him against fraudulent imitation. If 
the poultryman wishes to build up and hold a trade for 
good quality eggs he should advertise by putting his stamp 
on them. 

"Where shipments are made direct by express or parcel 
post to consumers this may not be necessary, but it might 
happen that the customer would mix his eggs with some 
others, and the blame, if any, if the eggs were bad, might 
come back to him. 

The eggs are frequently packed by the poultryman in 
cartons holding a dozen, and his name and address are 
printed on the carton. The carton is sealed, and the eggs 
are guaranteed if the seal is not broken. In such case the 
eggs are not stamped. 

Summary. The loss in quality of eggs is due to : 

1. Improper feeding of the hens. 

2. Dirty nests and yards. 


3. Cracked eggs. 

4. Broody hens. 

5. Stolen nests. 

6. Irregularity in gathering. 

7. Storing in a warm place. 

8. Keeping too long before marketing. 

9. Fertility, or keeping males with the flock. 
10. Exposing near stoves or in the hot sunshine. 
There is a financial loss due to : 

1. A loss in quality. 

2. A system of buying by the dozen or case-count with- 
out reference to quality. 

3. Indirect methods of buying which add to the cost. 

4. Express rates which discriminate against shipments 
in small quantities. 

5. Lack of co-operative effort between producers on the 
one hand, and between producers and dealers and con- 
sumers on the other. 

Conclusion. Improvement in quality will come when 
the producer who has eggs of good quality to sell insists 
upon the purchaser paying him according to quality, and, 
on the other hand, when the purchaser establishes the in- 
flexible rule of grading eggs and paying according to grade. 

Improvement in financial returns will come with im- 
provement in quality; improvement in transportation; ex- 
tension of the refrigerator service; more direct marketing 
and with co-operation between producers and between pro- 
ducers and consumers. 


The invention of the method and the growth of the busi- 
ness of preserving eggs by refrigeration has been one of 
the notable industrial developments of the United States 
in recent years. Whatever may be the merits of the cold 


storage product, the business must be recognized as one 
of great importance not only as it affects the cost of living 
or the food supply but as it affects the business and the 
profits of the poultry producer. Investigations have shown 
that there was put into cold storage during the year end- 
ing April 1, 1911, the enormous total of about 10,000,000 
cases of eggs of an estimated value of over $64,000,000. 
Of this, practically 80% is handled in the three months of 
April, May and June, the percentage of the total being 
42% for April, 25% for May and 12.5% for June. The 
cold storage of butter in the same period amounted to 
$40,000,000. It was reported that there were 500 cold 
storage plants in different sections of the United States 
storing eggs in that year. 

It cannot be definitely stated just how much the poultry 
producer is the gainer or loser by the invention and de- 
velopment of the modern system of cold storage. There 
are those who claim that the business is an injury to the 
poultry industry, but the public has come to accept it as 
necessary for the proper distribution of food stuffs. In the 
early days of cold storage of eggs, and even in later days to 
a small extent, there was abundant excuse, for the violent 
antagonism that the business frequently encountered. It 
is true that cold storage eggs have been frequently sold as 
fresh, and even to this day in certain states unscrupulous 
dealers practice this fraud upon both the poultryman and 
the consumer in the absence of a law that would send them to 
jail for the act. But there is little excuse now for antagonism 
to the business of cold storage, though unscrupulous dealers 
and vendors of eggs may occasionally take advantage of it 
to enrich themselves at the expense of the public. The 
business of refrigeration has been more perfected and the 
quality of the product improved. Again laws have been 
enacted making it a criminal offense to sell storage eggs as 
fresh eggs. 


The substance of the state laws that are now in force are 
that keeping eggs or other products in cold storage for 
thirty days makes them storage products. Any such product 
offered for sale must be stamped as such either on the 
package or product itself. The time limit of storage is, in 
New York, ten months ; in some states nine months. 

Effect on Prices. With storage eggs thus stamped and 
sold, the poultryman can have no valid reason for object- 
ing to the product. It is doubtful if the high price of 
selected fresh eggs will be appreciably affected by the sale 
of storage eggs. The people who buy storage or second 
grade eggs are not the ones who make the price for select 
eggs. It is pointed out that twenty years ago eggs sold 
during the surplus season in some states at 6 and 8 cents 
a dozen. Now they barely touch 15 cents at the lowest. 
There is no evidence, however, that this advance is wholly 
or in part due to cold storage, nor can it be proven that the 
much higher prices now received during the period of 
scarcity is due to cold storage. The fact is, however, that 
during the growth of refrigeration the price of eggs has 
been climbing upward. 

There may be reason for the claim that the higher pre- 
vailing prices during the surplus season are due to the 
taking from the market of a large proportion of the eggs 
and putting them into cold storage. It is reported in the 
evidence of a Senate Investigating Committee that the daily 
consumption of eggs in New York City during the spring 
of 1910 was 12,000 cases. The receipts were about three 
times as much. "What would happen to the market with 
receipts three times the consumption without a storage out- 
let? Clearly, the only thing that would save the eggs from 
being dumped into the harbor or thrown back on the farms 
as fertilizer would be such a reduction in prices that the 
people would consume the eggs. The storage business, 


therefore, tends to raise prices during the season of heavy 
production, but the tendency is in the opposite direction 
in the season when there is a deficiency in the supply. 

The Refrigerator Egg. The keeping of eggs at a steady 
low temperature is the most successful known method of 
preserving eggs. The best temperature for cold storage is 
29 to 30 degrees. The principle of cold storage is that 
bacterial action, which causes decomposition or deteriora- 
tion of the egg, does not take place at this temperature. The 
colder the eggs are kept without freezing the better. Fresh 
eggs of good quality may be kept at a temperature of 28 
degrees, while those that are not perfectly fresh require a 
temperature of 30 to 32 degrees for best results. A steady 
temperature with a free circulation of air is absolutely 
necessary in the storage room. The eggs are stored in 
clean, odorless crates holding 30 dozen. 

It is not possible to detect by candling any difference be- 
tween a storage egg and a fresh one. There is a slight 
evaporation of the contents of the stored egg, but a fresh 
egg that has been laid for several days may show the same 
amount of air space. In a case lot of eggs as it is taken 
from storage, evidence of storage may be found in a slight 
mold which will show in cracked eggs. 

The success of storage depends very largely upon the 
quality of the egg when it goes into storage. Storage does 
not absolutely prevent deterioration of the egg, it checks it. 
Under the best of conditions it is not as good as a fresh egg, 
but under proper conditions storage eggs are better than a 
great many fresh eggs that go to market during the warm 
months. An egg may technically be fresh and yet not be 
a good egg. Storage men have learned by dear experience 
that the early spring egg, the April egg in most sections, 
is the best for storage purposes. 

Eggs laid in March, April and May and stored then are 



in better condition than eggs laid in July or August when 
taken out of storage in November or December. During 
the warm months deterioration has set in before the eggs 
reach the refrigerator, and such eggs lose more in quality 
in the short time they are in storage than early spring eggs. 
This may not be due to a difference in quality of eggs when 
laid, but to the higher temperature to which they are sub- 


These cans hold 30 pounds each of separated whites and yolks, or whole eggs. 
Delivered to baker o>r confectioner in frozen condition. (Courtesy, Bureau of 
Chemistry, U. S. Department of Agriculture.) 

jected before they reach the refrigerator. It is a question 
of handling the egg rather than a difference in the quality. 
Limitations of Cold Storage. The business is prac- 
tically confined to large corporations with ample capital, 
located in large cities. Mechanical or artificial refrigera- 
tion is used, though ice plants are also used in a limited 
way. On account of the rapid deterioration that takes 
place after the eggs are removed from storage, it is an ad- 


vantage to have the storage houses located near a large dis- 
tributing center so there may be no unnecessary delay in 
getting the eggs to the consumers. It is doubtful if the 
business could be as successfully handled with smaller 
plants located near the points of production rather than 
centers of distribution, but in certain producing sections 
where there is a considerable local market small co- 
operative plants might be established with profit. 

The Future. "Will the business of storage increase? 
With continued improvement in refrigeration and in ex- 
tension of the service so that the egg will be better taken 
care of after it leaves the refrigerator and till it gets to 
the consumer, there will be a strong tendency to an in- 
crease in the business. Another factor, however, will be 
operating in the other direction. The producer by breed- 
ing better layers, fowls that will lay a larger percentage 
of eggs in the fall and winter, will be doing his best to put 
the cold storage plant out of business. But that is not im- 
minent, desirable as it might be from the standpoint of the 
consumer as well as the producer. Greater progress must 
be made than has ever been made in poultry breeding if 
any one now living is to see the day when winter egg pro- 
duction is to equal that of the spring and summer. The 
best we can hope is that the poultryman will produce better 
winter layers, and that the winter layers will, in part, re- 
lieve cold storage of the burden of maintaining a proper 
distribution of eggs throughout the year. 

Liquid Preservation of Eggs. For home purposes eggs 
may be successfully preserved in a liquid preservative. 
Liquid preservation was formerly used commercially to a 
considerable extent, but the business has been largely 
superseded by the cold storage method. Where cold storage 
is out of the question a great many eggs are "put down" 
in some liquid preservative. 


The Water-Glass Method. A solution of water glass 
(sodium silicate) is the most generally used preservative 
for home purposes. Water-glass liquid or syrup may be 
obtained at most drug stores. The price is about 75 cents 
per gallon. It varies somewhat in quality. Thatcher, of 
the Washington Station, states that it should contain ap- 
proximately one part sodium oxide to every 2% parts 
silicon oxide, and be of a consistency of about 38 degrees 

It has been found that the best strength to use is about 
one part water-glass to 10 parts water. The water should 
be boiled and to every 10 quarts water add one quart water- 
glass, or in that proportion. The water must be allowed to 
cool before putting the eggs in. The receptacles used should 
be wooden buckets or kegs, or earthenware jars or crocks. 
Galvanized iron buckets or tubs may be used. Fruit jars 
may also be used. Metal vessels that will corrode in water 
should not be used. The liquid must cover the eggs, and 
then a little more, to allow for evaporation so that the 
eggs will always be covered. 

Approximately three dozen eggs will fill a gallon jar, or 
ten times that number in ten gallons. It will require about 
four pints of the liquid to the gallon of eggs. The eggs 
should be kept in as cool a place as possible. The coolest 
part of the cellar should be used. The fresher the eggs are 
when preserved the better, but they may be kept a few 
days in a cool place before preserving. No cracked or 
thin-shelled eggs should be used. 

Eggs preserved by this method will keep from the season 
of lowest prices to season of highest prices and be in condi- 
tion to be used. They will not have the taste of the fresh 
egg, however. The white is thinner than in the fresh egg, 
but they will be perfectly wholesome. The water-glass 
closes up the pores of the shell, and in boiling the shell will 


crack. A puncture with a needle in the large end will pre- 
vent this. 

The poultryman should understand, however, that no 
matter by what method they may be put down, preserved 
eggs are not as good as fresh eggs, and they should not be 
sold as such. Laws affecting the sale of cold storage eggs 
as fresh should apply equally to preserved eggs. 

Selling Eggs for Hatching. Improvement in breeds of 
poultry rests largely upon the work of breeders who sell 
eggs for hatching. The facility with which eggs may be 
shipped great distances and the comparatively small cost 
of shipping make it possible to secure good stock from suc- 
cessful breeders in any part of the country. The introduc- 
tion of new and better blood is accomplished more often by 
the purchase of a setting of eggs than in any other way. 
At slight expense for express or parcel post it is possible 
to secure the best blood from the next county or from 
across the continent. This is one of the factors that make 
for the rapid upbuilding of the poultry industry. It is, of 
course, true that distance too often lends enchantment and 
that the farmer or poultryman could often secure as good 
blood from his next-door neighbor than from a distant 

The facilities afforded by Uncle Sam and the express 
companies for securing new blood has been taken advantage 
of naturally by unscrupulous men who conduct a profitable 
long-distance business with the help of printers' ink and 
advertising. The very facilities for building up an in- 
dustry are made the means for tearing it down. However, 
the good over-balances the evil, and it is the few who suffer. 
There is no remedy for the evil except that the purchaser 
learn to use ordinary business judgment in making his pur- 
chases and inquire into the reliability of the breeder before 
he sends him money, sending money to no one that he knows 


nothing about except what is stated in his advertisement. 

Advertising, however, is a great factor in the distribu- 
tion of improved strains or breeds of poultry. The busi- 
ness of the breeder is built up largely through advertising, 
and in proportion as he exercises judgment and skill in his 
advertising in proportion will he reap the financial reward 
of his success as a breeder. 

Selecting Hatching Eggs. The importance of exercis- 
ing extreme care in the selection and handling of eggs for 
market has been emphasized. Greater importance, if 
possible, should be attached to the selection of eggs for 
hatching. The breeder who is doing an honest business 
will carefully cull the eggs before shipping. Only those 
of normal size and shape should be used. If the poultry 
"breeders would make it a universal rule to set or sell no 
eggs for hatching that did not weigh two ounces each it 
would soon result in a vast improvement in the eggs of the 
country. That is one thing the breeder can easily control, 
selection for size of egg. Eggs should be clean, and prefer- 
ably not washed. Washing injures their hatching quality, 
especially when shipped great distances. They should not 
be more than a week old before shipping, and kept in a 
clean, dry, cool place in the meantime. Further discussion 
of selecting eggs for hatching will be found under chapter 
on Incubation. 

Packing Eggs for Hatching. The result in hatching 
eggs shipped long distances will depend very materially on 
the method used in packing them. The packing must pre- 
vent breaking and jarring the eggs as much as possible. 
The package should not be air-tight, otherwise the eggs will 
sweat if subjected to wide ranges of temperature. Dry, 
clean excelsior, or wood wool, chaff or fine hay make good 
packing material. The eggs should not be wrapped in 
paper. Probably the most satisfactory shipping package 


is the split basket with handle. The basket with the lid 
is the most convenient. A muslin cover is sewed on to the 
basket that has no lid. The handles make the package con- 
venient for lifting and at the same time prevent placing 
other boxes on top. There are other satisfactory shipping 
boxes. They should have some spring or resiliency to pre- 
vent undue jarring of the eggs. Each egg should be 
wrapped in excelsior or some other good packing material. 


At the present time the largest proportion of farm poul- 
try is sold alive. The killing is done by the dealers in the 
city. It is done by them more cheaply and better, as a rule, 
than it can be done on the farm. The farmer and his help 
have not usually the skill to do the work properly. Another 
advantage of shipping the fowls alive is that the dealers 
in the cities, being in close touch with the demands of the 
market, can even up the supply to meet the demand. In 
the case of a surplus coming in one day, they can hold part 
of it over for several days and kill only sufficient to meet 
the immediate needs. If the poultry all came to market 
dressed there would frequently be a glut ; that would mean 
often putting considerable quantities into cold storage or 
losing it. On the other hand, there would frequently be a 
dearth of fresh-killed stock. This would compel handlers 
of poultry to provide large storage facilities, and the con- 
sumers would be using storage stock a large part of the 
*time instead of fresh stock. 

The evil of this system of live shipments is that in most 
cases chickens are paid for on the basis of weight without 
regard to quality, though one farmer may furnish chickens 
with 25% more edible meat for the money received than 
another farmer. While the great bulk of the poultry is 
shipped alive, special markets may be worked up by farmers 


or poultrymen for dressed chicken of special quality by 
shipping direct to consumers. That is the best way and 
about the only way to get full value for fowls of good 

Large quantities of live poultry are shipped both east 
and west from the Mississippi Valley states and to a limited 
extent from other sections. Many carloads of such poultry 

Part of an Oregon poultry demonstration train. 

are shipped from the central west to Pacific Coast points 
and as far east as New York. Special live poultry trans- 
portation cars holding from 4,000 to 5,000 fowls are used. 
A man accompanies the car, doing the feeding and water- 
ing from an aisle in the center of the car. A rental is 
charged for the cars in addition to the freight. Another 
important development of market methods is the purchas- 
ing by the meat packers of large quantities of farm poultry 


for fattening. A large proportion of this poultry, after 
being fattened, is killed and put into cold storage to hold 
for a rise in price. 

Killing and Picking Fowls. Success in marketing 
dressed chickens to a select trade depends very largely on 
methods followed in killing and dressing. It should be 
remembered, always, that cleanliness and neatness have a 
market value when applied to dressing fowls and packing 


them for market. In other words, the basis of a select trade 
must be superiority of goods. 

Killing. Before being killed the fowls should be starved 
24 hours in order to empty the crop. This will make the 
fowl more attractive. By starving, the intestines will be 
largely emptied of their contents. This improves the keep- 
ing qualities. It is important in killing that the fowl be 
thoroughly bled. A well bled carcass looks better and 
keeps better. The dressed fowl will not be select where the 
bleeding has not been done thoroughly. 

Sticking. The best method of bleeding is that of stick- 
ing the fowl in the mouth. It takes some practice to be- 
come expert. The success in bleeding depends on the kind 


of stick. Usually the bird is hung up on a level with the 
shoulders of the operator. The head of the chicken is laid 
in the left hand so as to have the comb down. The pressure 
should be on the boney part of the head, not on the neck, 
as pressure there will prevent proper bleeding. The bills 
are held apart by inserting the first finger in the corner of 
the mouth. The knife should be sharp pointed, about 2 
inches long and a fourth of an inch wide. The blood vessel 
is first cut on the right side of the roof of the mouth at the 
neck where the bone of the skull ends. 

The brain stick is necessary where the fowls are to be dry 
picked. This is to "loosen up" the feathers. After cutting 
the artery the knife is quickly inserted in the brain through 
the groove in the roof of the mouth. This paralyzes the 
muscles and makes dry picking easy, but it must be done 
before the muscles contract. The picking commences im- 
mediately after the brain stick is made and even before the 
fowl dies. 

Picking. The breast feathers are first picked, then the 
long tail feathers and wing feathers. The picking must be 
done quickly when the feathers come off easily. Care, of 
course, must be taken not to tear the skin. After the rough 
picking comes the pin feathering. This is done sitting, 
with the chicken on the knees. It is necessary to use a 
knife to catch all the small pin feathers. 

This method of killing and picking requires considerable 
practice to be able to do it at a profit. In commercial estab- 
lishments expert pickers kill and dress in this way as many 
as 100 fowls per day. 

Cooling. When picked they should be immediately put 
into cold water for about an hour. This removes the 
animal heat and improves their keeping quality. It also 
gives them a plumper appearance. They should never be 
packed until the animal heat has been removed. 



Shaping. After picking and cooling the bird is fre- 
quently shaped on a shaping board to give it a more com- 
pact appearance. It is placed breast down on a board and 
a weight put on its back. This may be called a harmless 
" trick of the trade." Fowls that are naturally well fleshed 
and plump will not be improved by this treatment. 




Scalding. For home use and immediate consumption 
scalding is the almost universal method. It is also used by 
dealers in many large centers. It is the easiest and quick- 
est method of removing the feathers. The objections to 
scalding are that it tends to disfigure the skin and change 
its natural color. Water for scalding should be kept just 
below boiling. The feathers rub off easily when properly 
scalded. The legs and feet should not be allowed to touch 
the water. 


Drawn and Undrawn Poultry. It is a much debated 
point as to whether fowls should be drawn when killed. 
In some markets the law requires poultry to be drawn be- 
fore exposing for sale. In most markets, however, the prac- 
tice is general to leave the drawing or dressing to the retail 
dealer at the option of the purchaser. The evidence seems 
to favor the view that undrawn poultry keeps better than 
drawn. The theory is that in the drawn chicken the inside 
of the intestinal walls are exposed to the invasion of bac- 
teria which will hasten the process of decay. On the other 
hand, it is claimed that the putrefactive bacteria of the in- 
testines will infect the flesh of the fowl and cause more 
rapid decomposition. Further investigations seem needed. 

Meantime there is no ground for wholesale condemnation 
of undrawn poultry. "With proper bleeding and chilling 
no danger may be feared from either drawn or undrawn 
fowls. One important point in favor of the undrawn is 
that the housekeeper could see evidence of unfitness for 
eating if she drew the fowl or removed the viscera herself. 
Most of the important diseases of fowls are often indicated 
by the appearance of the liver and intestines. In the case 
of tuberculosis the evidence, in a great majority of cases, is 
found in the condition of those organs. 

Parcel Post Shipments. While the practicability of 
parcel post for dressed poultry has not been demonstrated 
in an extensive way, it affords a medium not heretofore 
available for direct shipments to consumers. For a special 
trade in fancy stock it offers an opportunity to the poultry- 
man who can produce the proper grade of stock to do a 
profitable business. Dressed chickens can be taken direct 
from the farm to the door of the consumer in the city within 
150 miles at a cost of from 1 to 2 cents a pound, depending 
on the weight of chicken in package. The great waste of 
marketing should be saved to both the consumer and to the 


producer by direct shipments. This should also encourage 
a much greater consumption of poultry. 

Loss in Killing and Dressing. This loss is usually con- 
sidered the weight of feathers plucked and the blood drawn 
from the fowl. The head and feet are left on and the 
carcass undrawn. The following table shows results secured 
at the Oregon Station from 88 fowls : 

Liveweight 348 pounds 

Dressed weight 306.8 " 

Loss 41.2 " 

Per cent, loss 11.8 

The dressing percentage varies with the condition, age 
and breed of fowl. A fair average would be 88%. 

Edible Meat on the Fowl. The percentage of edible 
meat varies with the breed, the condition of the fowl and 
its age. Work at the Oregon Station indicated that a fowl 
in fair condition has about 60% edible meat. The waste 
was found to be about as follows for a fowl weighing seven 
pounds : 

Feathers and blood 8 ounces 

. Offal 27 " 

Head, bones, shanks 8.2 " 

Total loss 2 Ibs. 11.2 " 

Edible meat . .... 4 Ibs. 4.8 " 

Capons and Caponizing. Capons are castrated males, 
or males with the sexual organs removed. The operation 
of removing the testicles is called caponizing. These organs 
are within the body cavity of the fowl attached to the back 
and lie close to the lungs and heart. The operation is a 
delicate one, and special instruments are made for the pur- 
pose. By following directions closely the amateur may 
soon become expert. Full instructions for operating are 



furnished with the instru- 
ments, and these need not 
be repeated here. The 
operation consists in mak- 
ing an incision near the 
thigh and between the two 
last ribs and removing the 
testicles with the proper 

The object in caponizing 
is to produce a better qual- 
ity of flesh and to make 
the surplus cockerels more 
marketable. A capon will 
sell for practically twice 
as much per pound, and 
often more, than a mature 


Who caponizes 4,000 cockerels a year and 
sells them as "soft roosters." Mr. Smith is 
very expert and averages about 50 an hour. 
(Photo by A. G. Lunn.) 


rooster. Under pres- 
ent conditions, how- 
ever, it will pay to sell 
the males as broilers 
when the broiler mar- 
ket is good. This ap- 
plies where the chicks 
are hatched early. The 
capon market, except 
in isolated cases, is not 
yet highly developed. 
It will develop as con- 
sumers become edu- 
cated to the superior 
meat quality of the 
capon. As indicating 
the possibilities, it may 


be stated that capons, canned in France, are for sale in the 
large cities of this country and at high prices. If cockerels 
are to be kept till the fall it will pay the farmer to caponize 
them and keep them till January or February, when the 
market is good for roasting chickens. Capons are quiet 
and docile, do not crow or fight, and sometimes make ex- 
cellent mothers for chicks. 



A knowledge of poultry diseases is of value to the poultry- 
keeper more in enabling him to locate unfavorable hygienic 
conditions than in the curing of diseases. In the discussion 
of poultry management in general the author has en- 
deavored to keep prominently to the fore the great im- 
portance of proper sanitary conditions as a means cl main- 
taining health or of avoiding diseases as much as possible. 
In other words, the poultryman must rely rather on pre- 
ventive measures than on curative treatment to maintain 
his flock on a healthy, profitable basis. It is an unprofitable 
business to be continually fighting diseases and treating sick 
fowls when a knowledge of simple hygienic rules will 
enable the poultry-keeper to prevent diseases and obviate 
treatment. As a rule, it does not pay to treat sick fowls. 
An individual fowl, on the average, is worth too little to 
pay to treat; besides fowls suffering from contagious dis- 
eases are a menace to the rest of the flock and the sooner 
they are gotten rid of the better. 

There are, however, certain diseases or ailments that are 
amenable to simple treatment, and if the poultryman 
possesses the requisite knowledge of the ailment and its 
treatment, he may often save himself considerable loss. 

Hygienic Conditions. The importance of the subject 
warrants recapitulation here of what has already been em- 
phasized in different chapters of proper sanitary or hygienic 

Fresh Air. Fresh air is not only an egg producer but a 
health preserver as well. Many of our pouftry diseases are 



the result of keeping the fowls in ill-ventilated houses. A 
lack of vigor is often the result of impure air. Diseases of 
the respiratory organs, such as catarrh, roup and colds, 
thrive only in ill-ventilated houses. It is useless to treat 
for such diseases fowls that are kept in houses that breed 
disease by bad ventilation. 

Fresh Ground. Next to fresh air, fresh ground is the 
best preventive of disease. Many diseases having to do 
with digestive organs thrive where no attention is paid to 
keeping the ground on which the chickens run fresh and 
clean. Tuberculosis, cholera and other diseases are usually 
contracted by the fowls picking up from the ground feed 
that has come in contact with the germs of the disease. 
Various parasites, such as gapes and tape worm, are taken 
up by the fowl in this way. An unclean feeding-ground is 
a fruitful source of disease. 

Fresh air and fresh ground are the cheapest things at 
the command of the poultry-keeper and when he learns to 
make full use of them there will be comparatively little 
danger from poultry diseases. 

No flock of chickens, however, is entirely immune from 
diseases. In spite of the best sanitary conditions, diseases 
will sometimes get into the flock and remedial measures 
will be necessary. 

Cleanliness. The nest boxes should not be a breeding 
place for germ diseases and insect pests. They should be 
frequently cleaned and disinfected. The droppings should 
not be allowed to accumulate, and on no account should the 
night droppings be allowed to fall and mix with the litter 
on the floor if the floor is used for a feeding- or scratching- 
ground. The litter should be kept reasonably clean and 

Disinfection. The culture treatment of yards is dis- 
cussed in another chapter. If cultivation and cropping 


can be regularly and thoroughly done there will be little 
need of other treatment of the soil to destroy infection. It 
may sometimes be necessary to disinfect the feeding- 
grounds. The most common method, probably, is the use 
of quick lime. Fresh lime should be air-slaked and broken 
into a floury powder and sprinkled over the ground until 
white. To prevent burning the chickens ' feet the earth 
may be raked over it a little. For the houses various disin- 
fectants are used. For bacterial diseases such as roup, 
tuberculosis, and cholera, formaldehyde may be used at the 
rate of 1 pint to 20 gallons of water. This should be ap- 
plied with a spray pump. The walls, ceiling, floor, roosts 
and nests should be thoroughly drenched with the spray. 

Boiling water may be used for articles such as drinking 
vessels, small feeding-troughs, etc., dipping them in the 
water. Commercial germicides such as Zenoleum and 
Kreso dip may also be used as disinfectants. In small 
houses that may be closed up tight, probably the most 
effective disinfection is to fumigate with formaldehyde gas. 
Use at the rate of 16 ounces of 40% formaldehyde to 6 
ounces of permanganate of potash, per 1,000 cubic feet 
air space. Put the permanganate in a jar and pour the 
formaldehyde into it and then quickly leave the house and 
close the door. Leave the house closed for two or three 
hours. This is a convenient and effective method of disin- 
fecting incubators as well as houses. 

Disinfecting Drinking Water. Germ diseases such as 
roup, canker and chicken-pox are frequently spread among 
the flock through the water in drinking vessels. Where 
there are any indications of such diseases it is well to use 
permanganate of potash in the drinking water, using about 
a fourth teaspoonful to a gallon of water. Permanganate 
ordinarily is cheap, and should be liberally used. 

It is known that disease germs are more virulent after 


they have passed from one animal to another. The germs 
may be passed in the excrement or droppings of the diseased 
fowl even before the symptoms of the disease are manifest. 
They may be passed in countless numbers, and if the drop- 
pings come in contact with the food another fowl takes 
them up and the germs, in all likelihood in a more virulent 
form, enter the body of another and cause disease. 

Tuberculosis. Tuberculosis is a germ disease and is 
probably the most destructive of all diseases of mature 
fowls. The disease progresses slowly and may be well ad- 
vanced before the symptoms are noticed. Avian tuberculosis 
was first reported in this country by Professor Pernot of 
the Oregon Agricultural College in 1900 (Bulletin 64), and 
to him the author is indebted largely for the facts herein 
presented in regard to this disease. The most pronounced 
symptoms of tuberculosis are lameness and loss of flesh. 
Tubercular fowls, however, often have the disease without 
lameness, but lameness is often associated with the disease. 
On the other hand, lameness does not always indicate 
tuberculosis, as it may be due to other causes. In advanced 
stages there is great loss of flesh or wasting. There is no 
loss of appetite. 

Seat of Disease. As the organisms enter the body with 
food, the disease is more commonly found in the digestive 
tract and the liver than in any other part of the anatomy. 
Many cases of the disease in its advanced forms fail to 
show any lesions of the lungs. There are two common forms 
that are easily detected; one is a fibroid growth on the 
intestines varying in size from a pinhead to a lump as large 
as a walnut. In cutting through these tubercles, they will 
be found to contain a substance varying from a serous 
fluid to a rather dry, cheesy mass according to their size 
and age. It frequently happens that when a tubercle on 
the intestine becomes the size of a large pea, the mucous 


membrane and wall of the intestine on the inner side of the 
tubercle breaks down and discharges the contents of the 
tubercle into the foecal matter that is passing through the 
intestine, thus carrying out with the excreta a great num- 
ber of living tubercle bacilli. 

' ' The liver is the other organ commonly affected. When 
the tubercle bacillus finds its way into the liver and begins 
to grow, a yellowish spot is soon formed, increasing in size 
as the disease progresses. The structure of the tissue at 
this point is changed to a hard granular mass containing 
within it the bacilli and the same substance as found in the 
intestinal tubercle. The growth of the tubercles necessarily 
increases the size of the liver until it sometimes becomes 
twice its normal size, and the tubercles are frequently so 
numerous as to give the liver the appearance of peanut 

" There are other spots of similar appearance sometimes 
found on the liver that must not be mistaken for tubercles. 
A crude way of distinguishing tubercular lesions is by the 
fibroid tissue of a tubercle being tougher and harder than 
the structure of the other spots mentioned, and by the 
center being filled with a substance as before described. 
Sometimes the disease is scattered all through the internal 
organs, and tubercles may be found even on the heart." 

The only certain method of diagnosing the disease is a 
bacteriological examination. The germ is a small organism 
measuring on an average 3/25000 of an inch in length and 
can only be seen through a microscope. Poultrymen should 
avail themselves of the services of the bacteriologist of the 
experiment station if they are suspicious of this disease in 
their flocks. Many of the stations have facilities for doing 
this work without charge. 

It is not definitely known that bovine or human tuber- 


culosis is transmitted to fowls. Pernot, though recognizing 
different types of tubercle bacilli, recognizes the possibility 
of transmission and urges caution. Other investigators 
have failed to produce the disease in the fowl with the 
bovine or human bacillus. 

Tuberculosis is not transmitted through the egg to the 
chick. Some investigators point to the possibility of trans- 
mission, but the possibilities are so remote as to be without 
significance to the poultryman. 

There is no known cure for the disease. Proper sanita- 
tion and prompt destruction of affected fowls must be 
relied upon to prevent the ravages of the disease. There 
is no reason for alarm if the poultryman makes full use of 
fresh air, fresh ground and sunshine in the management 
of his flock. If particular care be taken in this respect the 
disease will not get much headway. The .frequent renewal 
of the stock, killing off the old and replacing them with 
young, is a favorable factor in the control of the disease. 
The poultryman would do well before purchasing fowls 
to inspect the flock from which they come and secure them 
only from flocks that show no indications of disease. 

A Tuberculin Test. Until the year 1914 there was no 
known method of testing live tuberculous fowls. Bovine 
tuberculin has been proved valueless for this purpose. In 
that year Dr. Van Es of the North Dakota Station discov- 
ered that avian tuberculin, when properly used, is an almost 
certain test of the disease. The tuberculin is injected into 
the comb or wattles. The injection must be made near the 
surface, but not so near that the fluid may burst through 
the epithelium. In the experiments noted the results were 
ascertained in from 24 to 72 hours. The reactions consist 
of a swelling and discoloration of the part injected, the size 
of the swelling varying considerably in different cases. The 
swellings or reactions, in Van Es's experiments, indicated 



a tuberculous condition in 88 cases out of 90. On the other 
hand, 8 to 9% of the fowls showing no reactions were found 
to be tuberculous. 

Should this test prove to be as successful in the hands of 
others as it has been in the experiments reported, it is a 
discovery that marks a most important advance. 

Roup. Many poultrymen believe that roup and the 
kindred affection, catarrh, are the most troublesome diseases 
of poultry. Roup proper is believed to be a contagious germ 

disease. Catarrh, exhibit- , 

ing practically the same 
symptoms, is not conta- 
gious, being produced usu- 
ally by improper housing. 
The specific organism pro- 
ducing roup has not been 

Symptoms. It usually 
begins with a watery dis- 
charge from the nostrils 
and eyes, which as the dis- 
ease progresses, becomes 
thicker and of the nature 
of pus. The nostrils become clogged, interfering with 
breathing, and there is usually a swelling around the eyes. 
The swelling often grows until the eye is closed entirely. 
The disease frequently spreads to the mouth and throat and 
assumes the character of diphtheria, when death soon 

Treatment. The only hope of curing is in recognizing 
the disease in its first stages and applying remedies. 
Permanganate of potash of a 2% solution has been suc- 
cessfully used. The head of the bird should be dipped 
in the solution and held there as long as possible without 


(Courtesy, Prof. T. D. Beckwith, Bac- 
teriological Department, Oregon Experi- 
ment Station.) 


strangling the bird. The success of the treatment depends 
upon getting the solution into the nostrils. This treatment 
should be continued two or three times daily until a cure 
is affected. Kerosene is also an effective remedy. The face 
should be washed with a feather dipped in the oil and a 
little oil injected up the nostrils. If the mouth or throat are 
affected they should also be swabbed out with a feather 
dipped in the oil. Peroxide of hydrogen is also used suc- 
cessfully for injecting into the nostrils and swabbing out 
the throat. If the swelling on the face has reached a stage 
that pus has formed, an incision should be made, the pus 
removed, and the sore washed out with the permanganate 
solution or with the peroxide of hydrogen. When the dis- 
ease has reached that stage, however, treatment will not 
often be successful and it will not pay unless the fowl 
has some special value. The sick fowls should be isolated 
and the premises disinfected. Care should be exercised in 
introducing new fowls, and it is a safe practice to put them 
in quarantine several days before putting them with the 
rest of the flock. 

Catarrh. Possibly in the large majority of cases, what 
is thought to be roup is simply catarrh or colds. The 
symptoms are practically the same. The treatment of 
affected fowls recommended for roup may be followed for 
catarrh. When colds or catarrh appear it is a sure indica- 
tion that something is the matter with the housing. The 
fowls may be crowded too closely together on the roost ; 
there may be cracks in the walls through which the wind 
blows strongly on the chickens, or there may be insufficient 

Diphtheria. This is not an uncommon disease among 
fowls and it is very fatal. A false membrane grows in the 
mouth and extends down into the throat. Treatment is not 
often successful. Kaupp (Colorado, Bulletin 185) recom- 


mends the burning of the diphtheritic patches of the 
mouth with stick nitrate of silver (lunar caustic). A 2% 
solution of pure carbolic acid in water applied three times 
daily to affected birds is also recommended. When it can 
be done without causing bleeding, the diphtheritic mem- 
brane should be removed and the application of carbolic 
acid continued. The germ of fowl diphtheria resembles 
that of the human species. Attempts at the Oregon Station 
to reproduce the disease in chickens by human baccili 
failed, though further investigation seems necessary to 
settle this point. In the meantime, poultrymen should ex- 
ercise care in the handling of fowls affected with this 

Chicken Pox. This is a contagious disease and most 
prevalent in damp weather. Small crusts or wart-like spots 
appear, sometimes on the face, sometimes under the wings 
and on different parts of the body. A simple and effective 
remedy is to apply to the birds affected carbolated vaseline 
or sulphur ointment. 

Cholera. This is the most fatal of all diseases, though 
not as general as roup and tuberculosis. It is compara- 
tively rare. The symptoms are diarrhoea, loss of appetite, 
excessive thirst, pale comb and wattles and extreme ex- 
haustion. Death occurs in from a few hours to two or 
three days. There is no cure. Vigorous measures of disin- 
fection must be taken. 

Canker. Canker is indicated by white or yellowish spots 
in the mouth and throat and corners of the mouth. Per- 
oxide of hydrogen is effective. Powdered chlorate of 
potash blown through a glass tube or straw onto the spots 
is also recommended. Use permanganate of potash in the 
drinking water. 

Diarrhoea. There are various causes for diarrhoea be- 
sides those already mentioned. It may be caused by im- 


proper feeding, chilling, filthy drinking water, decayed 
meat, and irritating matter in the intestines. A tablespoon- 
ful of olive oil or 25 grains of epsom salts per fowl, dis- 
solved in water, is recommended. Boiled rice and boiled 
milk are also effective. Dry middlings are also beneficia] 
in certain cases. Decreasing the quantity of laxative foods 
such as bran and wet mashes may often be all that is 

Dropsy. Abdominal dropsy is indicated by a heavy 
hanging abdomen. The abdomen feels soft and watery. 
It is due to a rupture of the blood vessel which permits the 
water to escape into the abdominal cavity. Treatment is 
not profitable, though temporary relief may be given by 
puncturing with a needle, or milk tube, which will permit 
the water to escape. Dropsy sometimes indicates a tuber- 
culous condition. 

Bronchitis. Bronchitis is caused usually by draughts 
in the poultry house. It is found associated with catarrhal 
roup and is indicated by coughing and rattling in the 
throat. An effective treatment is two or three drops of 
spirits of camphor in a teaspoonful of glycerine, two days 
in succession. Two grains of black antimony in the food 
is also recommended. Swab the throat with permanganate 
of potash. 

Peritonitis. This is an inflammation of the peritoneum 
or membrane that covers the abdominal cavity. Successful 
treatment is difficult. Three or four grains of tincture of' 
aconite in half a glass of water, giving a teaspoonful three 
or four times a day, is recommended. J^requent applica- 
tion of moist flannel cloths is beneficial. 

Rheumatism. Poultry kept on damp ground or in damp 
houses with restricted exercise, are subject to rheumatism. 
The fowl in walking has a jerky gait. Lameness does not 
always signify rheumatism. The limbs should be bathed 


in warm water or the fowls made to stand in warm water, 
then rubbed dry and a mixture of turpentine and sweet 
oil or camphor oil applied. 

Apoplexy. Apoplexy is due to the bursting of a blood 
vessel of the brain. Treatment is impossible, as the fowl 
usually dies very suddenly without indicating the disease. 
A fatty condition is usually the cause. Less starchy foods 
should be fed and more exercise given. 

Limber Neck. Apparent paralysis of the neck muscles 
is the symptom of this disease. The neck is limp and 
stretched out in front of the bird with the beak usually 
touching the ground. It is due to impaction or stoppage 
of the stomach. A tablespoonful of olive oil or castor oil 
will usually effect a cure. 

Wry-Neck. In this case the fowl has also apparently 
lost control of the neck. Instead of the neck being stretched 
out in a horizontal direction, the head is drawn back and 
down toward the body, the bird twisting it from one side 
to the other. This disease is usually associated with an 
over-fat condition, produced by a lack of exercise and 
feeding heavily on fat-producing foods. Epsom salts should 
be given, the ration changed and more exercise furnished. 

Crop Bound. This is indicated by a full and extended 
crop which is rather hard to touch. Foods of a fibrous 
nature or indigestible articles such as long, tough grass, 
which have been greedily eaten, produce crop bound or 
crop impaction. Irregular feeding may cause the fowl to 
over-eat at one time and produce the trouble. The 
materials in the crop become so wrapped together and im- 
pacted that the passage to the stomach becomes obstructed 
and the fowl gets no nourishment. Hunger increases, the 
fowl eats more, and the ball of food in the crop becomes 
larger and larger. The grain foods swell, causing further 
distention. The fowl finally dies of starvation with an over 


full crop. Simple treatment, however, will save the life of 
the fowl. 

It is sometimes sufficient to give about a tablespoonful of 
olive oil to soften the mass, then with the fingers manipulate 
the mass until it becomes soft and moist. It may require 
an hour to do it. If the mass does not break up try holding 
the bird by the legs, head down, and gently work the food 
out of the mouth. If this is unsuccessful, resort must be 
had to an operation. After removing the feathers, an in- 
cision li/2 inches long should be made in the outer skin of 
the crop, then a small opening into the crop. With a small 
spoon or pair of tweazers, or the fingers, the contents may 
be removed, after which the lining of the crop and the 
outer skin should be carefully sewed together, separately. 
The wound should then be rubbed with vaseline. Feed the 
fowl lightly for a few days with easily digested food. 

Chick Mortality. Poultry raisers sustain great losses in 
the rearing of chicks. The losses have been so great in 
many cases as to drive the poultry raiser out of business. 
A large part of the loss is ascribed to what is called white 
diarrhoea. It should be clearly understood that there are 
different forms of diarrhoea in chicks. Diarrhoea may be 
caused in many ways. Possibly in a great majority of cases 
where the losses are heavy the diarrhoea in brooder chicks 
is due to chilling. Improper feeding will also cause 
diarrhoea. In such cases the loss is not due to an infectious 
disease over which the poultryman has no control. Again, 
large losses of chicks occur in the brooder from apparently 
no other cause than a lack of vitality. 

Wrong methods of incubation, which are discussed in 
the chapter on hatching chickens, are often the direct cause. 
Lack of vigor in the breeding stock is often the cause of low 
vitality in the chicks. A hen failing to sit properly and 
contentedly on the nest will hatch chicks that show lack 



(Courtesy, Storrs Experiment Station.) 

of vigor. Incubators 
that have not held the 
temperature steady or 
have not supplied the 
proper moisture condi- 
tions, will hatch chicks 
of low vitality. Such 
chicks are susceptible to 
bacterial and other dis- 
eases that would not 
affect strong, vigorous 
chicks. Small chicks are 
always very susceptible 
to environmental condi- 
tions, and where these conditions are found to be unfav- 
orable it is quickly evident in the death-rate of the 

White Diarrhoea (Bacterium pullorum). From recent 
investigations, it is clear that bacteria are responsible for a 

large part of the chick 
mortality. A certain 
germ, bacterium pullo- 
rum, was isolated at the 
Storrs Station which 
proved to be the direct 
cause of what is popu- 
larly known as white 
diarrhoea. Diarrhoea is 
but a symptom of the 
disease, which should 
not be confounded with 
various other kinds of 
diarrhoea. The germ 
was found in the fresh 


Showing white diarrhoea condition. (Cour- 
tesy, Storrs Experiment Station.) 


egg and in the ovaries of the hen, as well as in the chick 
when hatched. A diseased ovary produced a dis- 
eased ovum or egg, and a diseased egg produced 
a diseased chick, and a diseased chick may infest 
many other chicks in the brooder. It was also 
proved that the infection may be carried from the adult 
hen to another through the medium of the feed. Chicks 
of low vitality succumb more readily to the infection than 
those of good vigor. Again, chicks hatched in winter and 
late fall are not so subject to the disease as those in late 
spring and summer. 

The influence of vitality is very clearly apparent. How 
far we can count upon vitality to ward off the disease or to 
maintain immunity, is not clearly established by the ex- 
periments. They emphasize the importance, however, of 
maintaining at all hazards the vitality of the stock. They 
also offer a possible explanation of the usually larger death- 
rate of chicks in large flocks than in small ones. One hen 's 
chicks may be affected, another's may not. If the chicks 
from two hens are brooded separately, the chances are the 
one lot will live and the other may die. If they are brooded 
together, they all may become affected and all may die. 

In white diarrhoea the deaths usually occur when the 
chicks are under four weeks of age. In describing the 
symptoms of the disease, Woods says: "The weakling is 
almost always big bellied, the abdomen protruding to the 
rear so that it punches out behind, and out of line with 
the vent, with the result that the chick looks as if the tail- 
piece and backbone had been pushed forward and in just 
above the vent." Upon dissecting the chick the following 
conditions will be found : 

"Crop. Empty or partially filled with slimy fluid or 
with food. 


"Lungs. Apparently normal. ( Tubercles not observed. ) 

"Liver. Pale, with streaks and patches of red. The 
congested areas are usually large in size. Occasionally 
epidemics will be met with in which the liver is more or 
less congested throughout. In such cases the portion of 
the stomach lying in contact with the liver is inflamed. 

"Kidney and Spleen. Apparently normal. 

"Intestines. Pale, and for the greater part empty. A 

Showing characteristic dumpy appearance. 

small amount of dark grayish or brownish matter fre- 
quently present. 

Ceca. With few exceptions but partly filled with a gray- 
ish soft material. Only occasionally cheesy or firm con- 

"U nab sorb ed Yolk. Usually present, varying in size 
from a pea to a full-sized yolk. The color may vary from 
yellow to brownish green or nearly black. In consistency 
there is also much variation. It may appear perfectly 
normal, distinctly gelatinous, or watery. Frequently it 


looks like custard and again it is more or less dry and firm. 
Unless the chick has been dead for some time the yolk is 
not putrid, but merely stale. 

"The chick as a whole appears more or less anasmic and 
emaciated. The muscles of the wings, breast and legs may 
be almost completely wasted away." (Bulletin 74, Storrs 

The remedy suggested is the use of sour milk, though this 
is rather in the nature of a preventive than a cure. The 
chicks usually become affected before they are four days 
of age and very seldom after that. It has been found that 
by feeding sour milk just as soon as the chicks are ready 
to eat or drink, the ravages of the disease may be checked. 
"Whether the lactic acid germ of the sour milk kills the white 
diarrhoea germ or whether from the sour milk the chick 
derives the strength and vigor that enables it to throw off 
the disease, has not been very clearly shown. At any rate, 
the Storrs experiment offers strong endorsement of the 
practice of feeding sour milk or buttermilk to young 

That there are other disease germs which prey upon the 
young chick has been demonstrated at the Oregon Station. 
A different organism was found in chicks dead in the shell 
and in hatched chicks that died later with symptoms of 
white diarrhoea. "When healthy chicks were inoculated 
with the germ it proved fatal, though when healthy chicks 
were brooded in the same brooder as the others they were 
apparently unaffected. 

So far as the white diarrhoea investigations have gone 
it has been established beyond doubt that it is a bacterial 
disease. No remedy has been discovered. It has not been 
shown, however, that the poultry-keeper is helpless before 
its ravages. The encouraging feature of the situation is 
that high vitality in the chicks seems to carry a certain 


immunity or power of resistance to the disease, and until 
further light is thrown upon the subject, it is just as well 
to accept the theory that it is a disease, which if not the 
result of low vitality, need not be greatly feared where the 
health and vigor of the stock is unquestioned. 

The Agglutination Test. While there is no known cure 
for bacillary white diarrhoea, recent investigations by Jones 
of Cornell University have indicated an accurate test for 

(Photo by C. S. Brewster.) 

infected fowls. It is called the agglutination test. By this 
test it is possible to determine whether or not adult fowls 
are infected. The importance of the test lies in the fact 
that it is possible for the poultryman to eliminate this dis- 
ease in chicks by breeding only from fowls that the test 
shows are free from it. Several of the experiment stations 
have facilities for making these tests for poultry breeders. 


An explanation of the test is given by Dr. Gage of Massa- 
chusetts as follows: 1 

' ' The two important biological factors necessary for mak- 
ing the microscopic agglutination test are (1) a test fluid 
containing a suspension of the organism causing the dis- 
ease, and (2) a sample' of blood serum from the individual 
to be tested, and the test is based on the fact that the blood 
sera of infected and non-infected birds when mixed with 
the test fluid react differently. The serum of the former, 
because of the presence of an agglutinin, a substance formed 
in the body of the bird because of infection with Bacterium 
pullorum, is capable of producing, when brought in contact 
with a suspension of the organism, a clumping together of 
the bacteria, a phenomenon which blood from non-infected 
birds does not show." 


The poultry-keeper must be able to cope with parasitic 
enemies or they will put him out of ^ business. If every 
living thing has its own particular pest, the fowl has its 
full share, probably more than its share. There are a 
dozen or two insect pests or parasites that have no other 
business in life, apparently, than that of making life a 
burden to the chicken. "We do not know how many. The 
number of varieties, however, is of no consequence com- 
pared with the number of individuals of any one variety 
that may be propagated or born into the world in a few 
days. From one single louse in the third generation, there 
may be produced in eight or nine weeks over 100,000 in- 
dividual lice, each one hatched from an egg. 

The different varieties work in different ways. One 
variety sucks the blood from the chicken and when, tens 

1 Massachusetts Bulletin No. 163. 


of thousands of these bloodthirsty villains are plying their 
trade, the hen will soon be pumped dry of blood. Others 
do not suck the blood but irritate the fowl beyond endur- 
ance by moving about or running foot races, possibly with 
10,000 other entrants, on the skin. Others burrow into 
the skin or flesh ; others suck the liquid contents from the 
cells of the skin and exude a poison under the skin. Still 
others do their damage by carrying infectious diseases from 
one fowl to another. 

The internal parasites affect the wind-pipe, the stomach 
and intestines and cause various derangements. 

Poultry parasites are divided, therefore, into two classes, 
external and internal. 

External parasites may be divided into two kinds, namely, 
mites and insects. 

Mites. The chicken mite (Dermanyssus gallinea) causes 
more loss to the poultryman than any other species of mite 
and probably more than any other kind of insect or louse. 
These mites breed on the under side of the roost porches, 
especially where there is a rough surface and small cracks 
or crevices. They also breed in the cracks of the walls near 
the perches and in the nest boxes. Their presence will 
often be indicated by white dust-like patches on the 
walls. They are not found in any numbers on the fowl 
during the day but they crowd out of their hiding-places 
onto the fowls at night and suck the blood, then go back 
to their hiding. During the warm days of spring and sum- 
mer they multiply rapidly. 

Frequently sitting hens die en the nest, being literally 
bled to death by the pests. Sometimes they multiply so 
rapidly that they can be gathered by handfuls in nests or 
other places where they are undisturbed, especially under 
sitting hens. They live several weeks after being filled with 
blood. Under certain conditions they have been known 


to live several months. In size the mite is about 1/40 of 
an inch in length. If placed side by side 100 mites will 
cover a space of one square inch. 

Control. The mite, though possibly the most destructive 
of any poultry parasite, may be easily controlled. Various 
control methods are used. 

Treatment 1. Kerosene, crude petroleum, and distillate 
are effective. These will kill any mites they come in con- 
tact with. The oil, however, may not destroy the eggs of 
the mite. If the house is badly infested the whole in- 
terior should be thoroughly sprayed. In a week or ten 
days the application should be repeated to kill those that 
may have hatched after first spraying, and if necessary a 
third spraying should be given. If this is thoroughly done 
the mites may afterward be controlled by spraying the 
perches with kerosene or distillate, or a brush may be used 
and the oil applied all around the roost. The nest boxes 
should also be treated. 

Treatment 2. Instead of using coal oil or distillate in 
spraying the roosts, carbolineum or other tar preparations 
may be effectively used. Carbolineum is more effective 
than kerosene for the reason that it will destroy the mites' 
eggs as well as the mites when it comes in contact with them. 
Nests of sitting hens should be thoroughly painted before 
sitting; also the brooding coops. With any reappearance 
of mites the application should be repeated. The paint 
should be dry before the hens are allowed to use the nests 
or roosts. It will soil the feathers and may affect the flavor 
of the eggs. Brood coops should be thoroughly dried after 
painting or the chicks may be injured. Crude carbolic acid 
and kerosene or distillate, one part of the former to three 
of the latter, is very effective for mites, applied as a paint 
on the roosts and nests. 

Treatment 3. To five gallons whitewash add one pint 


crude carbolic acid. Spray as above or use whitewash brush 
for applying it. 

Treatment 4. Where lime sulphur spray is used for 
fruit trees it may also be used for spraying the poultry 
house. If thoroughly done this should control the mites. 

Lice. Lice are not so injurious as the mites but they 
must not be allowed to breed unchecked. Unlike the mites 
they do not suck the blood but subsist upon the productions 
of the skin and the feathers. They live and breed on their 
host. There are three kinds of lice generally recognized. 
First, those that are found on the head and neck of the 
fowl and especially on young chicks. The scientific name 
is Goniodes eynsfordii. Second, the wandering lice 
(Menopon pallidum). These are found on different parts 
of the body. Third, those found between the barbs of the 
wing and tail feathers (Liperurus variabilis). 

The conditions which encourage the breeding of these 
lice are filth, dampness and darkness in the poultry house. 
The eggs are laid among the feathers and attached to them, 
especially to down feathers. They hatch out in from six to 
ten days, the time varying. Lice will live several months 
without the hen or host. Theobald reports keeping Menopon 
pallidum for nine months on fresh feathers, they apparently 
eating the quill epidermis. 

Dust Bath. Domestication of the hen can be carried so 
far and no farther, and this fact must ever be remembered. 
It might seem a little more sanitary or civilized for the hen 
to keep her body clean by using a white enameled bath tub 
provided with hot and cold water taps, or to have a chicken 
barber shop where a weekly shampoo may be had, but the 
hen prefers to wallow in the dust of the road or in a crude 
box filled with dust, that is not by any means germ-proof. 
It would be as easy to make water run up hill as to change 
the nature of the hen when it comes to her method of keep- 


ing the body clean. The dust shampoo rids the hen of the 
scurf of the skin ; besides it is nature 's protection against 
the pestiferous louse that has no object in life but to make 
living a burden to the hen. A dust bath at evening gives 
biddy a restful sleep ; a dust bath during the day gives her 
new hope and happiness and permits her to lay her daily 
egg in peace and to chase and devour other larger insects 
that prey upon the crops of the field. 

The hen louse must breathe to live, and it breathes 
through the pores of its skin. A knowledge of this simple 
fact was doubtless the clew for some ancient Edison to 
invent dust. There are some objections to dust, but there 
is always some bitter with the sweet, and to biddy dust 
tastes sweeter than plum jam to the average human young- 
ster. The hen must have her daily dust bath. If she can- 
not get it in the fields or the yards it must be furnished in 
a box artificially, but she must have it to cleanse her body 
in the old natural way. It fills up the pores of the louse 
and prevents breathing, thus killing it. 

The addition of sulphur, pyrethrum or lime to the dust 
makes it more effective on account of their irritating nature. 
If the poultry premises are kept in a sanitary condition, 
the fowls will keep themselves practically free from lice if 
they have access at all times to a good dust bath. By dust- 
ing the hen by hand with a good insect powder, the lice may 
be gotten rid of sooner, but this entails too much labor to 
be practicable on a large or commercial scale. 

Sulphur and slaked lime may be used as a dust powder. 
Another good powder may be made by mixing crude car- 
bolic acid 90 to 95% strength, with enough plaster of paris 
to make a dry powder. 

Head lice on small chicks, which make their appearance 
a day or two after the chick is hatched, may be killed by 
rubbing the head and throat of the chick with lard. A few 


drops of kerosene to a teaspooiiful of lard will make it 
more effective, but much kerosene may kill the chick. If 
the hen be carefully treated for lice while sitting, there 
will be less trouble from the head lice on the chicks. 

Scaley Leg. Another species of mite (Sarcoptes 
mutans), produces scaley leg in fowls. The mite burrows 
underneath the scales of the leg and white grayish crusts are 
formed which gradually enlarge and raise the scales. In 
severe cases lameness results and even the loss of toes. The 
disease is contagious. Disinfective measures should be ap- 
plied in the poultry house. Individual treatment is rather 
tedious but a cure is easily affected. Where the case is bad 
or advanced it will usually be necessary to soak the scales 
thoroughly in warm water and remove them when it can be 
done without causing bleeding, then apply an ointment or 
vaseline. Kerosene is an effective remedy. Where the dis- 
ease is not too far advanced it will be sufficient to dip the 
legs in a can of oil and hold them there for half a minute. 

Dr. Theobald is authority for the statement that there 
are some 36 distinct species of worms that live as parasites 
in fowls. Some' of these are of little importance. A few 
of the more injurious ones will be mentioned here. 

The Gape Worm (Syngamus trachealis) . This parasite 
is very destructive to young chicks in different sections of 
the country. It attaches itself to the inner lining of the 
windpipe or trachea. Contaminated soil is responsible for 
the spread of this disease. This further emphasizes the 
point that has already been made, that young chicks should 
always be reared on clean, fresh ground. Gape worms be- 
come so numerous in the windpipe when they once get 
started that the bird finally dies for lack of air. Some of 
the worms are coughed up, as well as some of the ova and 
embryos and these are taken up by other fowls and the 
disease rapidly spreads. The ground carries the infection 


from one year to another. By cultivating the ground and 
disinfecting it with lime, the infection may be destroyed. 
Where the disease is known to exist it is the safe plan not 
to use the same ground for a year or two. 

The chief symptoms are a gaping with open beak and 
stretching of the neck forward. The worm may be removed 
by twisting a horse hair in the windpipe and withdrawing 
it, or a feather stripped to near the tip, dipped in oil or 
turpentine may be used in the same way. The value of the 
young chicks, however, will not usually warrant individual 
treatment. Reliance must be placed upon keeping the 
chickens away from contaminated ground. 

Intestinal Worms. There are numerous worms that 
infest the digestive organs of the fowl. The round worms 
are found in the gullet or esophagus. Another species is 
found in the walls of the gizzard. The tape worms and 
various other species are found in the intestines. For in- 
dividual treatment, oil of turpentine is recommended, one 
teaspoonful per fowl, preferably given in the morning fol- 
lowed with olive oil or castor oil a few hours later. Heavy 
feeding of onions or garlic will aid in controlling these 
parasites. Another remedy is to use powdered pome- 
granate root bark, one teaspoonful to 50 birds given in the 

There is not space in this book for an extended discussion 
of poultry diseases. Those readers wishing more detailed 
information of various diseases and their treatment, will 
find several books on this special subject. Among them 
may be mentioned: "Poultry Diseases and Their Treat- 
ment, " by E. J. Wortley ; "Diseases of Poultry," by Dr. D. 
E. Salmon; "Diseases of Poultry," by Pearl, Surface and 
Curtis; "Poultry Diseases," by Dr. B. F. Kaupp; and 
"Parasitic Diseases of Fowls," by Theobald. 



Albumin 281 

Analysis of fowls and egg 229 

Animal food 241 

Ash . 223 


Balanced rations 219 

Barley 239 

Beef scrap 243 

Beets 245 

Beet pulp 246 

Bran 239 

Breed, Ancona 32 

Andalusian 33 

Black Spanish 33 

Braekel 34 

Brahma 55 

Campine 33 

Dorking 45 

Faverolle 49 

Hamburg 33 

Houdan 34 

Langshan 60 

La Fleche 60 

Le Mans 58 

Leghorn 30 

Minorca 31 

Orpington 46 

Plymouth Rock 39 

Rhode Island Red 43 

Sussex 49 

Wyandotte 41 

Breeding, principles of 61 

problems in 62 

purity in 68 

Breeds, economic qualities of . . 27 

edible meat on different. . . 52 

egg 30 

fancy 28 

general purpose 35 

meat 50 

origin of 30 

"Standard" classification of 24 

utility classification of 28 

Broilers 274 

Brood coop 198 


Brooders, colony 324 

home-made 324 

lamp 323 

stove or room 327 

types of 323 

ventilation of 322 

Brooding, artificial 320 

chicks, training 322 

period 320 

temperature 320 

Buckwheat 240 

Buttermilk . . 241 

Cabbages 246 

Capons and caponizing 372 

Carbohydrates 226 

Catarrh 382 

Charcoal 247 

Chickenpox 383 

Cholera 383 

Cockerels 273 

Cold storage 359 

conditions of 360 

effect on prices of 359 

limitations of 361 

Colony system 144 

Corn 237 

Crop bound 385 

Culling 272 

Cut bones 241 

Cross breeding 16, 73 

advantages of 74 

disadvantages of 79 

experiments in 78, 101 

Diarrhoea 383 

Digestibility of foods 230 

Digestion coefficients 232 

Digestive organs 230 

Diphtheria 384 

Diseases 375 

Disinfection 377 

Domestication of fowls 1 

purpose of 1 

Dominance 84 





Drainage 168 

Drawn and undrawn poultry. . . 371 
Dressing, loss in weight in. ... 372 

Dropsy 384 

Dust bath 395 

Edible meat on fowl 372 

Egg-laying organs 133 

Egg, structure of 281 

Egg production, limit of 112 

best in first year 127, 183 

progression in 109 

regression in 109 

Eggs, candling 352 

canned frozen 361 

classification of 347 

color of 351 

composition of 217 

conditions that injure 348 

fertility and hatchability of 299 

for hatching 297 

fresh and stale 354 

gathering the 349 

grades of 344 

grading 351 

marking 355 

preservation of 362 

refrigeration of 357 

selling, for hatching 364 

size of 351 

testing 299 

washing 350 

Fattening fowls 274 

batteries 277 

rations 278 

Fats 226 

Fecundity, inheritance of.. . 92, 134 

influence of sire and dam. 107 

Maine station's results. . . 93 
Oregon station's experiments 96 

sex limited 107 

Feeding and exercise 249 

cooked food 254 

fundamentals of 210 

ground and unground grain 251 

growing stock 268 

hopper . . .'.'.'.'.' 254 

limitations of ..." 212 

methods of 249 

purpose of 223 

rations 256 

small chickens . , . 2(55 


Fencing 205 

portable 203 

Fish scrap 243 

Food analyses 227 

animal 241 

carbohydrates and fat. . . . 226 

composition of 223 

computing the ratio of. ... 229 

digestibility of 230 

digestion coefficients of . . . 232 

grain 237 

green or succulent 244 

mineral nutrients of 223 

palatability of 234 

protein 214 

relation of, to color of egg 212 

flavor of egg 212 

quality of eggs 212 

size of eggs 215 

yield of eggs 214 

requirements of chickens. . 221 

Fowls, antiquity of 9 

evolution of 11 

origin of 2 

Free range 144 

Fruit trees for shade 206 

Fruit growing and poultry-keep- 
ing 140 

Fresh air, value of 174, 375 

Fresh ground, preventive of 

diseases ... . 376 

Gallus bankiva 3 

Gape worm 397 

Green food 244 

Grit 247 


Hen-hatching 291 

Heredity 62 

Hygienic conditions, import- 
ance of 375 

Historical 1 

House, curtain-front 176 

floor of 184 

foundation 186 

open-front 186 

portable 187, 193 

space required 178 

stationary house 189 

Housing, essentials of 160 

purpose of 1C7 





Inbreeding 86 

Incubation, artificial 301 

carbon dioxide and mois- 
ture in 311 

chemical compossition of 
chick influenced by meth- 
ods of 316 

cooling the eggs 316 

influence of moisture in.. 312 

loss of weight in eggs 313 

methods of 286 

moisture in 308, 309 

natural vs. artificial 287 

oil on egg shells 319 

period of 297 

temperature of 314 

turning the eggs 316 

wet bulb temperature as a 
moisture guide 309 

Incubator, choice of 305 

operating the 307 

size of 307 

types of 305 

Incubator house 302 

ventilation of 303 

analysis of air in 304 

Jungle fowl cock 3 

hen . 4 

Killing 368 

Lady Mat-duff 117, 119 

Laying longevity 115 

maturity 127 

Lice 395 

Limberneck 385 

Linseed meal 240 

Locations for houses and yards 167 


Manure, preservation of 208 

Marketing eggs 333 

rlnssifying eggs for 347 

direct 337 

express 338 

how costs are added 336 

indirect 335 

poultry 366 


Middlings 239 

Milk 241 

Milk albumin 243 

Mites 393 


Nests 196 

Nutritive ratio . . . 228 

Oats 238 

Oats and peas 246 

Oregona 108 

Oyster shell 247 

Parasites 392 

Parcel post shipments of eggs. 340 

poultry 371 

Peas 239 

Petaluma poultry farming. . . . 140 

Peritonitis 384 

Picking 369 

Portable fencing and houses. . 203 

Potatoes 246 

Poultry farming, systems of. . . 138 

backyard 152 

colony 144 

dairying with 139 

exclusive 152 

fancy 156 

fruit growing with 140 

grain growing with 140 

intensive 151 

mixed husbandry 338 

Petaluma 140 

Rhode Island 140 

specialized 138 

industry 19 

products 19 

publications 19 

Prepotency 83, 85 

Preserving eggs in water glass 363 

Rations 256 

Reversion 65 

Rheumatism 384 

Rico 240 

Roup 381 

Rye 240 





Scalding poultry 370 

Scaley leg 397 

Selection 14 

Shade 206 

Shaping 370 

Shell, furnishes lime for de- 
veloping chick 311, 316, 317 

structure of 282 

Soils 167 

Sprouted oats 246 

Sticking 368 

Storms, objectionable 170 

Sunflower seed 240 

Sunshine 169 

Variability 109 

Variation 12, 03 

factors influencing 13, 15 

Ventilation in poultry house. . 174 
Vetch and oats 245 


Water glass 303 

Weight correlated with laying. 120 

Wheat 237 

White Diarrhoea 389 

Worms, intestinal 398 

Wry neck 385 

Transportation cars for poultry 367 

Trapnests 198, 199 

Tuberculin test 380 

Tuberculosis 378 

Type in layers 120 


Use and disuse of parts 16 

Yards 191, 201 

crops for 192 

cultivation of 191 

double 203 

hen capacity of 191 

size of 202 

Yolk 282 


TO * 40Gicmnini Hall 642-4493 








Quarter loans are not renewable by phone 
Renewed books are subject to immediate recall 


APR 2 1979 



FORM NO. DD1, 4m, 477 BERKELEY, CA 94720